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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 ALMSHOUSE. 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 employment 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 coun. ties.
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 improvements, nor are any provided for. Like many other old alms. houses, this one is lighted by kerosene oil lamps, which are exceedingly dangerous. The bathing facilities are out of date, and should be replaced by showers and modern tubs.