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We went to the Iowa Historical Building to find info. We found many Des Moines Register articles about problems at the Home, especially about the high death rate. We printed two informative articles with photos. I'm hoping you can use those as a springboard to list info on your Polk County site about the Home (& possibly the history of Broadlawns Polk County Hospital, which a Des Moines Register article years ago said started as a "pest house" & other Polk County institutions which have had great impact on many lives.) Perhaps you can get better quality photos from The Des Moines Register and also much information.

 

Here is just a small bit of the info from two Des Moines Register articles dated Aug. 16, 1972, page 1, column 5 and May 7, 1970, page 23, columns 3-8:

 

According to the May 1970 article, the Home had 275 residents at that time. In the Aug. 1972 article, the Home was said to have 160 'patients.' The Home also had separate hospital buildings for men and women, which were closed before the Home closed.

 

Quoted from Aug. 16, 1972, The Des Moines Register, "Panel Votes End to the Polk Home--The 75-year-old Polk County Home, a source of embarrassment and concern to county officials for years, will be abandoned and probably torn down by the end of the year. It will not be replaced. "The County Home is dead, may it rest in peace. We hope never to see its likes again," proclaimed Supervisor Tom Whitney, who presided over a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon.

 

We also found documents at the Iowa Genealogical Society showing that the Home had a cemetery, which apparently was not in accordance with the law. In 1971 a court-ordered exhumation took place. 77 bodies were disinterred, the remains put into group coffins and moved to Pine Hill Cemetery, also in Sayor Township, Polk County. A list of the deceased was included (which I'm going to post memorials for on Find A Grave) and was to be kept on file at Pine Hill Cemetery.

 

We need to help people know about and remember those who lived and died at the Polk County Home and also let the younger generations know what institutions used to exist and what they were like. The County Home should "rest in peace," but never be forgotten.

 

Thank you, Linda Kingery
 



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