On January 1, 1827, a former stagecoach tavern became the Genesee County Home and opened its doors to paupers, drunks, "lunatics" and vagrants. The following year, an additional stone building was attached to house for "the confinement of lunatics". The mentally ill would continue to find themselves dumped here until 1887 when the Board of Supervisors for the County decided they should be sent to either the Buffalo State Hospital, or to Willard Asylum.
Like most other facilities of this type, the Home was a working farm. Those who stayed there worked the farm, providing for themselves, and earning their keep. Because the Home was largely self-sufficient, the cost of operation was a mere $1.08 / resident per week in 1871. One of the longest-term residents was Phoebe White who stayed for as long as 58 years, having entered at the age of 9 because she was an "idiot". At that point in the home's history, 146 people were being cared for.
From the 1940's until its closure in 1974, the County Home functioned solely as a nursing home for seniors. Despite attempts to make commercial use of the property, it has remained mostly vacant to this day.
I am not a ghost-hunter. My knowledge of ghost-hunting was limited to what I've seen on television. So when an opportunity presented itself to go through an old, interesting building and it happened to be with a group of ghost-hunters, I took the opportunity.
I arrived at 8:30 PM for what would be a three and a half hour exploration of the former poor farm. While I wasn't taking part in a full-blown paranormal investigation, the evening, complete with full moon, and howling wind, combined to create a great atmosphere for a night-time exploration.
I was somewhat disappointed with the staged props found in almost every room. I felt the whole thing was really a bit over the top. Despite that, however, I met good people with whom I hope to have continued communication.
I am not a ghost-hunter, but I respect their beliefs, and moreover, I respect that they are looking for answers to questions that have been part of human existence forever in whatever way they can.
In all, a worthwhile experience.