Poor House Disaster of 1876

Discussion in 'TQ Mug Shots' started by sojourner, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Well-Known Member

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    DSCN1549.JPG DSCN1551.JPG DSCN1552.JPG Image.jpg In my birthplace of Norwich, Conn. is a mile long street named "Asylum Street". About halfway up this street is a side street named "Alms House Lane". At the end of Alms House Lane is a maintenance area and garages for the town's truck fleet. The reason for the names of these two streets is because back in the 1800's on the site where the garage is now, there used to be a four story brick building that served as both a "poor house" and "insane asylum". The first and second floors were for the poor and the non violent mentally ill. The third and fourth floors were for the mentally ill who were considered violent. Because of the people who were kept here the building was located away from the general population on the edge of town. People were not called "patients" but instead were referred to as "inmates". When an "inmate" died they were buried out in a field close to the building. It is said that a few hundred were buried in unmarked graves on the premises. On the night of March 12, 1876 a fire broke out on the third floor and because there was no communication in those days it was quite a while before the fire dept. could get there. By the time they arrived the building was pretty well destroyed and there was loss of life. Some were able to escape the flames but the violent types on the upper floors were locked in their rooms and couldn't save themselves. In all, 16 people perished and many others were burned to some degree. The town didn't have a hospital yet so bodies were brought to the local police station. Those that could be identified were turned over to relatives IF they had any who accepted them. The others were buried in the field next to the building. The building was rebuilt and continued to be used as a poor house until the early 1950's. The mentally ill were eventually moved to a new State Hospital for the mentally ill that was built in 1905. Most people have no idea what stood there so long ago nor do they have any idea that hundreds of people are buried in the ground beneath the maintenance garage and the surrounding area. Old photo and information is from a Bill Stanley book called "Once Upon A Time"
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  2. KRose

    KRose Well-Known Member

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    Nice Historical story Sojo. Sad, but well told. That street saw a lot of broken hearted folks back in the day.
     
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  3. PRO PHOTOG

    PRO PHOTOG Well-Known Member

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    Great story. I'd hate to make a "discovery" MDing out there. :eek:
     
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  4. against the wind

    against the wind Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever asked a truck fleet supervisor for permission to hunt on the town garage grounds?
    Thanks for the pictures, history, and post.
     
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  5. sojourner

    sojourner Well-Known Member

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    I have not asked anyone to hunt here because this town has a blanket ban on metal detecting anywhere within the city limits.
     
  6. KRose

    KRose Well-Known Member

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    :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:( The lawmakers there must be transplanted Covingtonian's. Sad
     
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  7. leslie(nova scotia)

    leslie(nova scotia) Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting and the tour. Keep up the good work!
     
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  8. hoser

    hoser Well-Known Member

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    Great pics, great history lesson, great post. Thanks for sharing.;)(y)
     
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