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The main building is two stories in height, not including basement and attic, the latter of which is finished for sleeping-rooms.
From the main building two wings extend westerly, with quite a large yard or court between them. The north wing and the north end of the main building are occupied by the male inmates, while the corresponding portion of the building upon the south is occupied by the females. The central portion of the main building is devoted to the superintendent's uses. There is a separate front entrance to each of the divisions, as will be seen in the illustration.
Steam for heating is supplied from boilers located in a building upon the opposite side of the highway, several rods distant from the almshouse. The radiators are placed chiefly in the corridors, although a few rooms are also furnished with them. There is a transom over, and a ventilating grate in the lower part of each door, so that sufficient warmth is secured in the rooms, excepting, possibly, in the very coldest days of winter, when the inmates may gather around the radiators. The inconvenience thus occasioned is more than balanced by the fact that by this method the rooms are not over-heated and rendered unfit to sleep in.
The building contains a good number of ventilating flues, and, with the exception of the attic, seems to be adequately ventilated. In 1887 this board made a special report to the county commissioners concerning the sanitary condition of the institution. Since that time the commissioners have caused nearly all the suggestions submitted to be carried out. No provision has been made for the ventilation of the attic, but it is understood that it is to be attended to at an early day.
During the past year all the walls have been dressed with paint and kalsomine of a light blue tint, while the ceilings and the walls of the basement have been thoroughly whitewashed. The woodwork is well painted and clean. The bathrooms were found to be in excellent order, having recently been repaired. The water-closets were all in excellent condition, and seemed to be well ventilated. The entire institution presented an appearance of neatness and cleanliness not usually found in institutions of this character. The expense of annually dressing the walls is comparatively light, and at this institution it has been found that such treatment effectually destroys the “almshouse odor," while it undoubtedly renders the building much more healthful and destroys any vermin that may be carried into it.
The laundry still remains in the southeast corner of the basement, but has been greatly improved during the year by the addition of a series of soapstone tubs. The laundry is too small, and ought to be in a separate building.
The food furnished is of excellent quality, all the flour used being of first-class grade.
The commissioners have added a hot-water system during the year, with sixteen faucets; hot water is now carried over the entire building, and furnished to the bathtubs and set bowls. This is not only a great convenience, but contributes to the comfort of the inmates. The institution has an excellent system of water-works, ample in quantity, and of sufficient pressure for fire purposes. Hydrants are placed at convenient points, and four hundred and fifty feet of hose supplied for fire purposes. Inside the main building there are seven connections with the water pipes, to each of which is constantly attached fifty feet of hose. There are also connections at points about the grounds convenient for sprinkling garden and lawn. It is not exaggerating to say that at the present time this almshouse is in a most excellent condition. There are very few defects to be remedied, and these have been pointed out to the commissioners. The general cleanliness of the entire institution, rooms, clothing, bedding, etc., was, at the time of the inspection, as good as could be desired.
At the time of inspection the institution contained one hundred and five inmates and twelve prisoners, making a total of one hundred and seventeen persons. Of this number about one half may be classed as insane, although but twenty-five are confined in the insane asylum. There were twelve children under fifteen years of age. A part of these are children of the prisoners, and four of them had recently arrived there. Two of the children are idiots. They were found to be well cared for, neatly dressed, and had the full liberty of the pleasant grounds. They attend the public schools, and are thus placed under influences better than those surrounding the children of similar institutions of the State.
MERRIMACK COUNTY ASYLUM. The asylum for the insane has been greatly enlarged and materially improved in every respect within a few years. About three years ago a new wing was erected, containing twenty-nine rooms 9x10 feet square and nine feet high, and a large and ample hall or corridor suitable for a sitting-room for those not confined to their rooms. After the new wing was ready for occupancy the old building was thoroughly remodeled and refurnished, and is now in nearly as good condition as the new part. The entire institution contains forty-one rooms, only twenty-five of which were occupied at the time of the inspection. In the old building new floors and partitions were put in wherever necessary, the facilities for ventilation largely increased, and the entire building put in a very clean condition. Twelve rooms, designed for the worst class of patients, were connected with the sewer by a 2-inch pipe, there being a slight depression in the floor so that the rooms can be thoroughly cleansed with water from a hose, if necessary. These pipes are thoroughly trapped, and while the inspection discovered nothing objectionable in this instance, there are some doubts as to whether the system is one that sanitarians would endorse.
The buildings are heated by indirect radiation from steam coils. There is a ventilator to each room, which seems to be of ample size to secure good ventilation. The bathrooms were found to be in excellent condition, and the fixtures thoroughly trapped. The buildings are finished in wood throughout, and the ceilings are of the same material, mostly in the natural color, and dressed with shellac or varnish, so that it is a comparatively easy matter to keep them clean. Considerable money has been laid out on the basement of the buildings, to secure cleanliness and ample room for heating flues and sewer pipes. The old building had been in a very bad state so far as sanitary conditions were concerned. The pipes were broken or disconnected, allowing the sewage to be deposited under the building. The commissioners have caused this contaminated soil to be removed, and have put in sub-soil drains.
The building is two stories high, as will be seen by the illustration ; the second story is occupied by the males, and the first