BALTIMORE COUNTY ALMSHOUSE

(Historical Society of Baltimore County)

9811 Van Buren Lane, Cockeysville, MD

(410) 666-1878

Status: Former Almhouse (Poor House); Historical Society

Website

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By Adam Youssi - Historical Society of Baltimore County, CC BY-SA 4.0Link


History

Also known as the third - and last almhouse - in Baltimore County, this facility opened in 1872.

It was built to take care of children and the elderly who no longer had anyone to take care of them. The sick and the insane were also sent here for the most part because no one either could or wanted to take care of them. In the 19th century there was, quite simply, nowhere else for these people to go.

This facility replaced the old Upland Home which, in turn, had replaced the Calverton which was opened in 1819.

Residents were known as inmates; yup exactly like prison. And much like criminals. they were considered the undesirables to society.

At the time it opened it was a place of hope and designed to keep these people off the street where they either become criminals, die or just get in the way. As with most similar facilities of the time that dream died quickly.

The inmates were strictly segregated by race and gender and the sick – infectious – which were sent to the Pest (short for pestilence) House on the grounds.

Today these people go to nursing homes, psychiatric wards and hospitals, homeless shelters, orphanages or simply live on the street.

The first floor was reserved for the superintendent, his family and any on site doctors who lived in luxury in direct opposition to the squalor enjoyed by the inmates above.

By the 1890’s some groups decided that those deemed insane should be treated better or differently giving rise to the era of the massive inane asylums that ended in the 1980’s – 90’s.

In 1958 the facility was closed by the County saying it was growing too expensive and in 1959 the Baltimore County Historical was opened in the building.

The closing of the almshouses and asylums – although far from a perfect system – is one of the major factors leading to the problems of homelessness and drug addiction we face today.

 

Paranormal Activity

The pale ghost faces of the building’s former residents – especially children – are seen forlornly looking out of the windows.

The phantom sounds of children playing on the upper floors is commonly reported. It is also reported that if you quickly get to where these sounds are heard you might catch a glimpse of the apparitions of the children.

The sounds of objects being thrown around are also reported.

On the third floor the disembodied voices of women having conversations can be heard. The apparitions of these women are also seen; albeit much more rarely.

The most famous ghost in the building is that of Anthony Rose; a 75-year-old man who fell down an empty elevator shaft to his death.

Other Reported Activity: faint misty apparitions; shadow figures; electrical disturbances; phantom laughter and crying; light anomalies and feelings of being watched.