The commissioners then let out a contract for the building, which was taken by John Buchart at $399. The fact that Mr. Buchart is to do the work is a sufficient guarantee that it will be well and speedily done.
The contract for taking the farm and keeping the paupers for a term of three years, was then sold at public auction and bid off at 94-1/2 cents a week to be paid by the county for each pauper to Mr. Phillip Steringer, who takes possession of the farm immediately, and gets the paupers in June.
So the poor asylum is now fairly under way and those who come on the county after June, will have to work as much as they are able. We think this is a good move, and will relieve the county keeping able bodied paupers.
County historian George R. Wilson wrote:
"A poor farm was purchased in 1861. It was near the geographical center of the county. An asylum was erected on the farm, but it was destroyed by fire on a Sunday afternoon in the autumn of 1881.
The present asylum is situated on a splendid farm one-and-one-half miles south of Ireland, in Madison township. The building in the extreme measures ninety feet by one hundred twenty-nine. The structure is of brick, which were made upon the farm. The roof is of slate. The rooms- are all in hardwood finish. The building itself is trimmed with Bedford stone, and to the traveler upon the road a half mile away, it presents a pleasing, comfortable, and respectable picture, with a grove of original growth in the background.
The building is two stories high, with a large and commodious basement. The rooms of the superintendent are in the front center wing of the asylum ; the women's department is in the north wing, the men's in the south. The cooking department is in the west wing. The structure faces the east. Each sex has its own accommodations, stair-ways, and other necessary annexes.
The building is heated by steam. The ceiling throughout the building is of steel, thus reducing the probabilities of a disastrous fire to a minimum. The water for the entire building is pumped by means of a gasoline engine into a tank, which is placed in the garret. A spring is one hundred fifty feet north of the building. It is one of the finest in the entire county, and certainly in the western part. A stream of water that requires an eight inch pipe to carry it away flows constantly from the spring.
The building was erected in 1898, at a cost of $14,000. Hochgesang, Schmidt & Schuble were the contractors. The plan was drawn by M. F. Durlauf. The building has been extensively copied by other counties in Indiana. During the construction of the building, A. H. Koerner was county auditor, Joseph Fritz, Joseph Schroeder, and Conrad Jackie were the county commissioners.
This building is a credit to the county, and to August H. Koerner' s administration."