The Early Years
In the heart of Illinois, nestled in the town of Ashmore, a building stands testament to the passage of time. Once an almshouse in the Coles County Poor Farm, Ashmore Estates has seen decades of change, evolving alongside the community it has served.
From 1857 until 1869, the Coles County Poor Farm housed those in need, providing them shelter, food, and a sense of community. Its first location was in Charleston Township, near the small town of Loxa.
However, by 1870, the county purchased new land in Ashmore Township, marking the start of a new chapter. The land, crisscrossed by the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad, was the perfect setting for a new beginning. The first on the property was erected a modest timber and brick building.
Life on the poor farm wasn’t always easy, but it was an important refuge for many. Inmates, as they were referred to back then, worked the land and contributed to the running of the farm. The county even maintained a small cemetery for those who died at the farm. As the years passed, the farm grew, accommodating hundreds of inmates and marking their final resting place on its grounds.
Life at the Almshouse
By 1916, the farm had transformed into an almshouse, a haven for those unable to support themselves. Despite the often harsh conditions, the almshouse was a beacon of hope for many. Its “vermin-infected walls,” “rough floors,” and “small windows” might not have seemed inviting, but it provided warmth, food, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging.
Inmates worked diligently, growing their food, butchering their meat, and making butter. They weren’t merely surviving but creating a self-sufficient community where everyone had a role. They were warm, well-fed, and found satisfaction in their work.
A full-time caretaker and his family lived on the premises, ensuring the smooth operation of the almshouse. It wasn’t merely a place to stay; it was home to many with nowhere else.
Ashmore Estates as a Psychiatric Hospital
In 1959, a significant transition took place. The almshouse and the nearby property were sold to Ashmore Estates, Inc. The building opened its doors as a private psychiatric hospital, marking the start of a new era.
The building served as a sanctuary for those struggling with mental health issues for five yea—however, financial difficulties led to its closure in 1964. Not one to be kept down, the institution reopened its doors in 1965, focusing on caring for people with developmental disabilities.
Abandonment and Resurrection
Life has a way of evolving, and Ashmore Estates was no exception. By 1986, the institution closed its doors again, marking a period of abandonment. The once bustling building was left to the elements, a silent observer of the passage of time.
But Ashmore Estates was not destined to remain abandoned. 2006 it found a new lease on life as a commercial haunted house. Visitors flocked to the building, drawn by the allure of the supernatural. However, a storm in 2013 damaged the building, leading to a change in ownership.
Since 2014, the new owners have been working diligently to restore the building, preserving its historical significance while showcasing its appeal to paranormal enthusiasts. Ashmore Estates has successfully transformed from an almshouse to a care facility, and now, a site for paranormal investigation.
Paranormal Activity at AshmoreEstates
Over the years, Ashmore Estates in Illinois has become synonymous with tales of the supernatural. It’s a place where the past meets the present, where echoes of its previous inhabitants are said to linger. Paranormal enthusiasts and curious visitors have reported inexplicable phenomena, adding to the estate’s mystique.
An entity known affectionately as ‘Garrett’ is often reported by visitors. Some have heard a child’s laughter, while others have caught fleeting glimpses of a little boy believed to be Garrett. His playful nature often shines through in these encounters, manifesting in the movement of objects or the sudden chill of a room.
The upper floors are believed to be inhabited by entities known as ‘Shadow People.’ These silhouettes are said to dart across rooms, adding an air of mystery to the estate. Paranormal investigators have reported electronic voice phenomena, or EVPs, hinting at communication from these entities.
In the building’s past, it was a place of refuge and care, a home for many. It’s perhaps no surprise then that some believe the entities present are the spirits of those who once lived and worked there. They aren’t seen as threats but remnants of a time gone by, still lingering in the building they once called home.
Ashmore Estates is a rich tapestry woven with stories of compassion, resilience, and a touch of the supernatural. From its humble beginnings as a poor farm to its current status as a site for paranormal investigation, it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of the community.
This building has stood the test of time with its rough walls and small windows. It has evolved, adapted, and found a way to endure, just like the people it has served. Its history reminds us of our collective past, a symbol of our ability to adapt and evolve, and a beacon of hope for the future.
Today, Ashmore Estates stands not just as a building but as a symbol of the community’s past, present, and future. It’s a place that invites us to explore, learn, and experience a slice of history wrapped in a shroud of mystery and the unknown.