S.T.O.P. continues its work with its biggest project and adventure thus far with The Randolph County Asylum/Infirmary just outside Winchester, Indiana. The current Asylum/Infirmary, the third such building located at this site, was built in 1899 and built on the foundations of the first. That first original poor farm was built in 1851 but burned to the ground just four short years later. A second building was built and used for nearly four decades, but was razed to the ground due to poor craftsmanship and horrendous living conditions. The third building, like other poor farms, almshouses, sanitariums, asylums, county farms, and nursing homes, was established for the purpose of providing housing, medical care, and essential needs for the county’s sick, retired, indigent, poor, and injured. Another major function of the Infirmary of course was to contain epidemic illnesses, as well as house individuals thought to be mentally unstable and indigent.
The Randolph County Asylum/Infirmary is situated on 4.6 acres of picturesque Randolph County, Indiana farmland. The Infirmary was operated by the county as an old folk’s home following its tenure as an asylum and closed in 2006, remaining vacant for several years. During that time, the original window panes and witches hat towers were luckily preserved. The brothers Allen purchased the Asylum/Infirmary in 2015 and immediately began restoration efforts.
The beauty and history of this beloved building is currently enjoyed by a host of visitors weekly, attracting photographers, filmmakers, producers, wedding planners, school field trips, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, colleges, and charitable event organizers. Hosting these charitable events at the site has been among the most rewarding experiences for the owners, as well as the community. The Asylum/Infirmary has drawn many local citizens and their families, igniting a spark of passion for history and their town. The youth have become interested in the local heritage and willingly research the history out of curiosity. This excitement, desire to learn, and their growing level of interest is inspiring and gives hope that future generations will, like the Allen brothers, come to value and work to preserve the past.