The History of Michigan County Poor Farms

  • About

    Long before the advent of modern social welfare, county governments in Michigan maintained poorhouses or poor farms. Explore the early history of these facilities in their attempts to become both self-sustaining entities and refuges for a county’s poor, elderly, and destitute. Discover the lives and stories of those that resided at these poor farms. Learn about their transition to serving individuals with chronic illnesses and what eventually led to many of them shutting down in the later part of the 20th century.

    All attendees are required to sign-up to receive the credentials for accessing the Zoom session. The Zoom session information will be emailed to participants the day before the presentation and the day of. Registration will end at 4:00 PM on the day of the program, with a final reminder email with Zoom access sent at 4:30 PM. If you have any issues with signing up for the presentation, please email

    To register for this event, please click here.