22645 East County Road 1050 North, Ashmore, IL

(217) 899-9978

Status: Former Almshouse; Former Asylum; Former Private Care Facility; Former Haunted House Attraction; Heritage Building


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In 1870 the County purchased 170 acres of land for the construction of new poor farm. The land now occupied by Ashmore Estates today is on part of this land.

This original poor house was on the property until 1911 when it was condemned. There are 2 pauper cemeteries in the area related to this original facility.

As early as 1902 the facility was failing it’s inspections with no proper ventilation, no fire safety and the provisions for the mentally ill where not sufficient; meaning no restraint system in place for them.

In 1911 it was actually condemned by the County for all of the above and being completely vermin infested especially with flies who crawled all over everything including the food.

In March of 1916 the contract to build the new almshouse (poor house) was granted for $20,389 (just short $570,000 in 2023 dollars).

In 1959 the County retained ownership of the farmland but sold the building.

A corporation bought the building and converted it into a private insane asylum called Ashmore Estates. The asylum closed in 1964 due to financial issues.

In 1965 the building re-opened to house mentally and developmentally disabled patients who were being released in mass as the old giant asylum system was closing down.

Paul Swinford and Galen Martinie bought the facility in 1976 and invested over $200,000 (just over $1 million in 2023 dollars) into updating and expanding the building. It took until the 1980’s to complete the construction and updates.

Despite entering into a partnership with a corporation the licenses needed to run the facility were never granted by the State.

In April of 1986 Ashmore Estates filed for bankruptcy being over 1.5 million dollars in debt. The facility was closed in 1987 and abandoned.

In 1990 Swinford once again tried to open the facility this time as a home for mentally ill teenage boys. Once again, the State refused to grant the licenses needed due to fire safety issues and community resistance.

In 1998 the property was sold with the intention of converting it into a private home. This plan failed due to repeated vandalism at the property.

In 2006 the property was sold again and converted into a haunted house attraction. The owner lived on the property to discourage any vandalism.

In 2013 a terrible storm moved through the area and badly damaged the building. The State Inspectors rated the building unsalvageable and a total loss.

In 2014 Robbin and Norma Terry (the current owners) bought the building and renovated it. They now run it as a very successful paranormal investigation site.


Paranormal Activity

There have been more than 100 deaths on the property; possibly a lot more.

This site has been investigated by pretty much every TV or YouTube paranormal group.

Anyone sensitive to the etheric has described and very heavy energy surrounding the building that only gets stronger once you enter.

Activity at this location has been so intense and frightening paranormal investigators have fled the building before their investigation time is up.

In the former kitchen something unseen knocks on the windows.

In the boiler room there is an entity that calls people names and has scratched more than one investigator.

In the former dining room light anomalies have been seen by the naked eye and shadow figures crawl along the walls.

Other reported activity: apparitions of former residents and staff; disembodied cries for help and voices; phantom whispers directly into your ear; touches, pokes and prods by unseen entities; electrical disturbances and feelings of not being alone – it is said you never alone at Ashmore Estates – and being watched.