Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The View From Here: Almshouse Edition

This tower fascinates me. I'm convinced that there is a history waiting behind this shell of copper and glass. Perhaps a few scraps of paper telling a secret of a former inmate of the almshouse--or maybe some graffiti carved by a patient when this building housed an insane asylum?

As a side note, I've been somewhat obsessed by old graffiti since discovering a face drawn on a wall at Ellis Island by someone waiting to be processed for entry into the United States. By obsessed I mean I've thought about it from time to time and hope someone might point me to some historical graffiti since I'm not often wandering across it on my own.


I've not yet had a chance to venture into this building. Parts of it are open to the public on a limited basis for tours. This building, the old administration building of the Tewksbury Almshouse, now houses a Public Health Museum. Peeking in the windows I saw a veritable cornucopia of treasures to look at, think about, and use to illuminate how we have cared for those most in need in past eras.

For now, I'll have to settle for pictures. In the late 1890s, the Commonwealth went about building sturdier structures at the Tewksbury Almshouse. The main administration building, a Queen Anne style building, was completed in 1894.

For more images of the Almshouse check here and here. To see images of another asylum built in this same style during this era, see my blog posts about the Medfield Asylum here, here, here, and here.

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