The McKean County Poor Farm, Smethport, Pennsylvania

The McKean County Poor Farm was opened 1 July 1885 on what is now Marvin Street, Smethport, to provide accommodation for the county's paupers. It occupied purpose-built premises, previously known as Wilcox Farm. The first inmate was William Vernon, known as "Blind Billy", who was to remain a resident of the establishment for almost 53 years, up to his death in 1938.

McKean County Poor Farm, Smethport, PA, early 1900s.
© Peter Higginbotham.

There were four main buildings. At the front centre was the superintendent's house. To its left was the female residence, while that for males was to the right. At the centre rear was the kitchen and dining-hall block. Enclosed corridors linked the superintendent's house to the other buildings.

The Poor Farm closed in 1968. The buildings have now been restored, some being occupied by the County offices. The site is now desgignated as a Historical and Conservation Area.

Former McKean County Poor Farm, Smethport, PA.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

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Bibliography

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