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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Commissioners prepare for sale of County Home

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- On Nov. 11, Auctioneers will sell off parcels of land surrounding the old Putnam County Home. Putnam County commissioners Gene Beck, Jim Baird and Kristina Warren looked over final plans for the auction that will begin at 6 p.m. at the Dixie Chopper Convention Center at the Putnam County Airport.

"We will follow the same procedure as we do for all auctions. Each parcel will go up for sale, when bids are made, the commissioners take them and go into a separate room and decide to accept the bid or not," explained Beck.

"We do the auction this way so you don't have to go back to the Planning Board after the sale to have it replatted," he added.

"We could have divided it up and gotten more half sites, but the commissioners wanted to keep them as intact as possible," said County Planner Kim Hyten.

The county home, along with 10 acres, will also be up for sale that night. An assessment of the value of the home has been obtained and bidders will have to meet at least 90 percent of the assessed value and have their offer approved by the commissioners.

Money from the auction will go into the county's annex fund. The area where the cemetery sits will be retained by the county and be overseen by the cemetery board.

"We'll fence it off and leave an easement to the cemetery," said Hyten.

Commissioners had hoped to be able to move the old jail portion of the home to the current Putnam County Jail, but the cost is proving prohibitive.

"We got an estimate of between $38,000 and $48,000 to move it. We just can't afford it," said Beck.

The sale of items from the home that took place on Oct. 24 had a final tally of $10,654. After the 20 percent sale commission to the auctioneer ($2,130.80), advertisement for Antique Weekly ($337.43) and Hoosier Topics ($83.85), as well as the labor setup and hauling fee ($390), the total was $7,711.92.

On Oct. 27, $109 was made with the sale of miscellaneous items with a 25 percent commission paid of $27.25. The county received $81.75 of the total.

The total check written to Putnam County was $7,793.67 with $1,531 to the Sheriff Department and $6,262.67 to the Putnam County Commissioners for the annex fund.

The historic home has been a landmark in Putnam County since it was built in 1870.

It began as a self-sustaining Poor Farm for the destitute and poor in Putnam County. It was a place for people to go who could not support themselves and was tax-supported.

Poor houses began as a way of providing a less expensive alternative for what is now called "welfare."

In 1875, poorhouses in most states became the responsibility of the State Board of Charities. Laws were passed prohibiting children from residing in them.

Eventually, the farms evolved almost exclusively into nursing homes for dependent elderly people. They were common in the United States beginning in the middle of the 19th century and declined in use after the Social Security Act took effect in 1935, with many disappearing by the 1950s.

On Aug. 17, Putnam County commissioners make their final inspection of the historic building in preparation for the sale of the home and surrounding land.

For information about the land sale contact Hyten at 653-5727.


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As a neighbor, we received a certified letter concerning the sale. There will be a meeting the 12th, the day after the sale. How convenient for the commisioners to tell us afterward and not get to voice our opinion before the sale.

Side note- How can they not afford to move the jail when they are selling all of that land? Take some of the money and move it. Or is that to much work for them?

-- Posted by longtimecitizen on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 2:16 PM

This is a pitiful thing. I cant understand why you would think it is smart to sell off the county's history in this way. If we have such a budget problem then maybe we should look at the people writing the checks. I am sure we have some over inflated spots to cut cost. What about the families currently farming that land? Should they have to lose income because it is too much of a burden to think of a better solution? Maybe we should all stop and remember this when it is time to vote for new leadership.

-- Posted by worrieddaddy on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 6:08 PM

I think people in the community should ask more questions regarding the cemetary on the property. We may not know these people but they deserve the respect and are members of someones family. Do they even know where these poor souls are buried at? Its my understanding that they were'nt even given headstones or crosses! How sad to just sell them off as if they never existed. Spending alittle money to locate them properly would not be to much to ask if it was their "grandfather"

-- Posted by peoplesvoice on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 7:37 PM

We will follow the same procedure as we do for all auctions. Each parcel will go up for sale, when bids are made, the commissioners take them and go into a separate room and decide to accept the bid or not,"

This all sounds a little fishy to me.

The sale of items from the home that took place on Oct. 24 had a final tally of $10,654. After the 20 percent sale commission to the auctioneer ($2,130.80), advertisement for Antique Weekly ($337.43) and Hoosier Topics ($83.85), as well as the labor setup and hauling fee ($390), the total was $7,711.92.

Looks like everyone but the tax payers got a piece of the pie

-- Posted by Sand mann on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 8:08 AM

As I agree with the comments listed above, I do have to ask, "where were we all a year ago, three years ago, five years ago?" We've all learned in the past that the home was in disrepair and that something would have to happen in the future. Now that a decision has been made to sell the property, everyone is up in arms, citing historical reasons of every kind. We all knew this was coming down the road, but no one yelled then. Sandman, you are quite correct. Didn't we as taxpayers already pay for the items that were auctioned off. Then if you wanted some of the items, you had to pay again. Please everyone, remember this at election time. If not, OUR county will continue to be on the backburner of government, while everyone else continues to move forward.

-- Posted by whodouthinkur on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 8:50 AM

Local communities, sadly, no longer "take care of their own". Maybe it was too expensive, or just easier to pass the buck to the State. No County home, no orphanage, Food stamps,medical aid for the poverty stricken etc, are all administered by the State now. The system does have a lot of flaws and doesn't seem to address the community needs as was the case in previous generations. Ideally, I would have liked the County home to continue as a charitable function. If it had to be closed it would have been a great asset as the Putnam County Museum. I'm not casting blame or insults at the commissioners for their actions - they are just doing what has, unfortunately. become "normal" in these times - but it seems we've lost a lot of our tenderness towards one another in these so called modern times and that our historical landmarks are just so much chattel.

-- Posted by countyboy on Thu, Nov 5, 2009, at 10:15 AM


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