Side A: The surrounding 132 acres of land served as the Knox County Poor Farm (aka Knox County Infirmary and County Home) from 1842 to 1955. The farm was nearly self-sustaining. Able residents grew their own food, raised livestock, and did various chores as partial compensation for their care. In 1874, a fire in the original wood farmhouse resulted in one death. Public outrage and concerns for residents’ safety compelled the county commissioners to build a new “fireproof” poorhouse. The four-story brick building was constructed from 1875-1877. It is believed to be the last building designed by architect William Tinsley, utilizing a version of the Kirkbride Plan. This plan, conceived by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, improved the layout of institutions and infirmaries for the well-being of their charges. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) Situated across the street, the infirmary had 139 rooms, each with a scenic view, and included a small chapel. The facility provided a home-like atmosphere for the people who lived there. The institution moved seven miles north in 1955 when the county could no longer maintain the facility. The Mount Vernon Bible College occupied the property from 1957 to 1988. On June 26, 2015, a fire destroyed the “fireproof” Knox County Infirmary.