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To the State Board of Charities:
During the fiscal year ending September 30, 1901, all the almshouses of the Fourth Judicial District have been visited by the Commissioner, as well as regularly inspected from time to time by the Almshouse Inspectors and the Superintendent of State and Alien Poor.
The year has witnessed some improvement in each of the counties. The matter of repairs has received attention. In some instances new furniture has replaced old and worn-out material. In Clinton county the heating plant has been very much improved; three chute fire-escapes are attached to the building, and a cooler now enables the institution to properly care for the food supplies. Montgomery County Almshouse has also added a cold-storage room and a milk house to its equipment. Saratoga county is about to introduce electric light.
NEW ALUSHOUSE. Schenectady county has made a contract for the erection of a new almshouse. The old buildings which served the county for so many years are to be abandoned, and a new structure, modern in all respects, is already under way. It is to be regretted that the supervisors of the county did not complete their good work by relocating the almshouse. It is unfortupate that an institution of this character is located in the heart of a growing town. It is far better always when on a farm and at some distance from a town. This gives opportunity for employ. ment of the inmates, and the farm will contribute materially to
the support of the institution. It is unfortunate in another way when an almshouse is established in the heart of a city or town—the temptations of town life are usually too strong for the inmates to resist. They find opportunities to enter saloons and other resorts, and in consequence the discipline is more or less impaired.
THE CARE OF THE SICK. In Washington county the old asylum building, which has been used as a store house for a number of years and was falling rapidly into ruin, has been remodeled and converted into a hospital. Heretofore the sick men were kept in a dark basement, and the change will be found greatly to their benefit. By this repair a building about to fall down has been saved to the county, and, which is of greater value, the sick have been provided with accommodations wherein they may be satisfactorily maintained.
In some of the other counties of the district it is possible that similar arrangements may be made, and hospitals be provided for the sick who are now cared for in the ordinary dormitories.
The administration of the almshouses of this district has generally been of a high character, and during the year there has been no backward step. On the whole the inmates are well cared for. They receive good food in sufficient quantity, and express contentment with their treatment.
The census tabulations follow the notes on the several counties.
CLINTON COUNTY ALMSHOUSE, BEEKMANTOWN, N. Y.
WILLIAM B. SAVAGE, Superintendent. The brick buildings which compose the almshouse group are three stories high, having a basement and attic, and were erected in 1874. They have room for 100 inmates, and their estimated value is $35,000. There have been no recent improre. ments, nor are any provided for. Like many other old almshouses, this one is lighted by kerosene oil lamps, which are esceedingly dangerous. The bathing facilities are out of date, and should be replaced by showers and modern tubs.
The precautions against fire are chemical fire extinguishers. and hose connected with the tank in the attic of the building, beside filled water pails in the main corridors; but in the event of fire the facilities for escape are inadequate.
For some years very little has been done to this almshouse in the way of repairs and equipment, and it is lacking in modern conveniences. It would be wise to reconstruct the interior of the building and introduce new plumbing and sanitary conveniences and make ample provision for the escape of the inmates in the event of fire.
ESSEX COUNTY ALMSHOUSE, WHALLONSBURG, N. Y.
ALBERTI D. Sutu, Superintendent. The residence buildings are of brick, two stories high, each having attic and cellar. The main building is I shaped, and is used for the superintendent's quarters and offices, and also for the women inmates. The men's building is a separate brick structure. A one-story dining-room stands between it and the
It is expected that during the year the main floor of the women's building will be reconstructed. When repairs were made two years ago, this portion of the main building was not touched, and it is now proposed to complete the work so as to put the almshouse in first-class condition.
When inspected the grounds and buildings were found in order. The inmates appeared contented and comfortable, and the food supplied was seen to be good.
It would be well if the use of kerosene oil lamps was rendered unnecessary by the introduction of a safer illuminant.
FULTON COUNTY ALMSHOUSE, GLOVERSVILLE, N. Y.
JOSEPH SHERMAN, Superintendent. This is the newest almshouse in the district. It has only been in occupancy three months, having been entered on the 4th of June, 1901. The buildings are of brick, built on the cottage plan, each two stories high, having cellar underneath. The boiler-room and laundry occupy the basement under the work and service building.
As this building is so new, it is being adjusted to meet conditions. The drainage system of the old almshouse was found inadequate for the new, and consequently changes were rendered necessary immediately upon occupancy. It is expected that all of the old buildings will be razed or removed.
This group is now heated by steam from a low-pressure Mercer boiler. It is lighted by electricity, and has very good ventilation, for in addition to the usual doors, windows and flues for the dormitories, there are open fireplaces in each of the day The water supply remains as for the old almshouse. It comes from a spring.fed reservoir holding about 4,000 barrels, from which, by means of a two-inch pipe, it enters the house. Another small spring on the hillside delivers water to the kitchen.
As this almshouse is so new, it is described herein in some detail. Its equipment for bathing consists of one shower bath for each sex, and a porcelain-lined tub in the hospital for the use of the women. The laundry contains a steam washing equipment of an upright engine, a rotary washer, a centrifugal extractor, and eight steam drying racks. The precautions against fire consist of standpipes with connected hose in each building, and also a number of liquid chemical extinguishers. No outside iron fire-escapes have been constructed, as these are only twostory buildings, and there are three exits from each of the buildings used as dormitories.
It is intended that a room over the dining-rooms in the work and service building, which has a bath and toilet, shall serve as a hospital.
On inspection the food was found to be well cooked and well served and also abundant. This almshouse is a credit to Fulton county.
The census was as follows:
Number of inmates.....
2 0 0 0 2 1 3 9