Fairfield County Infirmary
1549-1575 Granville Pike
Lancaster, OH 43130
Just southeast of Columbus, Ohio, the small town of Lancaster holds a dark past in the form of an old brick building. The first incarnation of the Fairfield County Infirmary was a simple wood-framed structure which quickly grew and expanded to the large, three story building that stands today. The old poor house held residents of all types of misfortunes including everything from mental disorders to alcoholism. There were mass amounts of death in this building, enough so that the county opened a cemetery dedicated solely to those who perished in the infirmary. With all of these deaths, sorrow, and abandonment, there’s no question as to why legends and rumors have run rampant as to the mass amount of hauntings throughout the house.
In 1828, a welcoming wooden structure was constructed just north of Lancaster, Ohio. The purpose of the building was to be an assisted home for those cast out by society. This included alcoholics, the mentally disabled, those afflicted by severe health disorders, and even those with physical scars. At first, the care was impeccable; residents were getting treatments and living well, but the facility was quickly filled up and overcrowded. This led to a new brick structure built in 1840 and expanded due to another influx of residents in 1865. This construction also brought upon standalone buildings like a laundry facility, tenant houses, farming structures, and storage. A farm was also added on and grown across the street in order to help feed the residents of the infirmary.
By 1917, as the country forged forward into more modern technology, and the Fairfield County Infirmary followed suit. There were multiple gas lines installed on the property to heat and light the infirmary. By 1926, pipe was run underground to bring fresh water to the grounds. However, with all of these new provisions ready for use, the infirmary didn’t truly tie into the technology until they were forced to in 1958.
The county run facility began to lose funding in the 1960’s and the facility sold off the farmland to the Ohio State University in 1965 in order for them to construct a remote campus. At that point, the residents, known as inmates by then, were shipped out to nursing or special care homes throughout the state. By 1985, there were only 16 inmates remaining and the infirmary finally closed, shipping those remaining off or simply releasing them into the world.
A year later, in 1986, the local government remodeled the abandoned building into offices and renamed it after a former state congressman, Clarence E. Miller Building. The building was updated to modern standards including sprinklers, emergency systems, and fireproof stairwells. It served well for 27 years as the health department for the county. The health department moved on by 2011 due to the necessary $4 million renovations the building would require to remain up to code and stay safe for commercial use.
Standing alone and empty until February of 2020, the owner of the Madison Seminary (another haunted location) stepped forward and purchased the Fairfield County Infirmary; Adam Kimmell. The true purpose of Adam’s purchase was not to renovate and restore the building but rather to preserve the history of the building and the stories of its’ past. The majority of the money spent on the building was for safety and furniture that dated back to the building’s heyday.
The building has held a multitude of death within it’s’ walls, most of the perished unnamed, even in the cemetery. However, one of the more predominant and interesting stories tells of a 73-year-old inmate, Jane Householder. She was unfortunately burned alive after she caught her clothes on fire after opening her stove to cook a simple meal.
What was thought to be groundbreaking treatments and exercises back when the infirmary was in full swing and full to capacity, turned out to be cruel and evil punishments to these unknowing patients. Many times, this led to disfigurements and health complications, other times this led to deaths, all by those who ensured their patients safety and cures. There have also been tales of abuse and mistreatment as the facility lost its funding which led to deaths by malnourishment and by mundane injuries like infected cuts and scrapes. These misdeeds and treatments seemed to show the darkness and evil nature of the doctors and nurses, even though they did not realize they were performing it. This seemingly left a stain on the building in the form of dark and disturbing energies which may linger forever.
The manager, Ady Gaddis, has seen her fair share of hauntings herself while working in the infirmary. While moving some of the newly purchased furniture, Ady spotted a young girl with blonde hair, dressed in a blue dress. This occurred multiple times at all hours of the day/night. She has mainly been spotted in the old morgue. Some, including Ady, believe that this little girl is simply lonely and wants to play. She has been named Susie by the employees.
Strange noises have also been heard echoing from the morgue, almost like humming or chanting. As this area is investigated, there is no one to be found and no trace of the odd noises.
Another spirit, named Willy, has been seen on the upper floors, walking aimlessly and peering out windows longingly. He appears and disappears on a whim. He is not alone on these floors as more ominous spirits tend to wonder here as well. Dark shadows and odd mists move around these floors, sometimes even being mistaken for live guests
No matter the occurrence experienced, employees and guests alike can agree that these very walls seem to hold energies and a life of their own, just waiting to be discovered and uncovered.