Ashmore Estates looms large in the minds of many Coles County residents, even if they have only heard the stories. It stood abandoned for nearly twenty years, until its new owners opened it as a haunted house in autumn 2006. Since then, the building has been scoured by paranormal investigators and will soon be featured in several television programs, including American Horrors and the Booth brothers’ Soul Catcher.
The building (known as an almshouse) began as a part of the Coles County Poor Farm. It was built after the Auxiliary Committee of the State Board of Charities condemned the first almshouse. In January 1915, bids were placed for the construction of a fireproof building on the location. The contract for the new almshouse was awarded to J.W. Montgomery in March of 1916 for $20,389, and the cornerstone was laid on May 17, 1916. L.F.W. Stuebe was the architect who designed the building.
The modern poor farm operated for over forty years, until attitudes regarding public welfare began to change. Many of them were demolished and the land sold off to private farmers, but others were privatized as care facilities. Coles County sold its almshouse to Ashmore Estates, Inc. in February 1959. That corporation opened the building as a private psychiatric hospital, but it suffered from financial difficulties from the very beginning.
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Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 3 Digital Edition
Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2009 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 3 include Lebanon Road’s 7 Gates to Hell, Ramsey Cemetery, Elmwood Cemetery’s Violin Annie, Manteno State Hospital, the Hatchet Lady of Moon Point Cemetery, Chanute Air Force Base, Ashmore Estates, Aux Sable Cemetery, Ax Man’s Bridge, and more. Plus, read letters from our readers, adventurer’s logs, Paranormal 101, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues.
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