Poorhouse Project

Ulster County Poorhouse 1975
Ulster County Poorhouse c. 1975 - photo by Marion Ryan


Between the years 1828 and 1976, the Ulster County Fairgrounds was the site of the Ulster County Poorhouse. A poorhouse was a tax-supported residential institution to which people were required to go if they could not support themselves without community assistance. Thousands of individuals, including the indigent, the destitute, the insane, the intemperate, transient farm workers, freed slaves, unemployed canal and aqueduct builders, "debauched" women, unwed mothers, the friendless, the elderly, the disabled and the sick, called this site their home.