Wabasha County Poor House

Hiawatha Dr., Wabasha, Minnesota

Former county indigent housing faciliity converted to apartments


Overview Looking Southeast

The building is an L shape with a wing on the north side.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning July 2018



Street View 


A "Poor House" or "Poor Farm" (which seems to sound more attractive than "poor house") were common sights in Minnesota from the mid-19th Century to about the 1930s. At that time, changes in law provided financial support for indigents but to receive their "pension" they could not reside in a government facility. As population dwindled, the public poor farm was turned over to a private operator who opened it as a rest home, thus allowing residents to receive their relief checks. It operated at a rest home until 1952 when it was sold to become a restaurant in 1956. It was later converted to an apartment building, which it remains today.

For many homeless or down-on-their-luck residents, it was the last refuge available. It was one of 64 such facilities in Minnesota in the last half of the 19th Century and first part of the 20th Century. This is one of the few remaining that is still intact.

On this site, you'll find a hospital (1879) and a 30-rooom residence hall (1883) that also contained supervisor's quarters and a kitchen.

If you look at the photos from 1982 that support the original application for inclusion on the NRHP (links to both documents below) you can see that several outbuildings have been razed since the application.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 26, 1982
Reference number
Area of significance
Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Institutional housing
Current functions
Single dwelling; Restaurant
Period of significance
Significant year


19th Century (37,641)
Brick (42,462)
Building (4,303)
Built 1883 (509)
Built during 1880s (6,452)
E. Alexander (2)
Have Street View (44,298)
Limestone (8,192)
Minnesota (1,746)
Private owner (54,396)
Stone (26,160)
Wabasha County, Minnesota (25)
Wabasha, Minnesota (9)
William B. Lutz (1)

Update Log 

  • September 3, 2018: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos
  • August 2, 2016: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger