Photographs of John Huston and Don Roberts




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Potatoes stored in the cellar

One of the projects the inhabitants of the Poor Farm spent much time on was sprouting the potatoes. Potatoes were grown on the farm by the Asylum community and the harvest was stored in the cellar of the building. After sitting in the dark cool basement, the potatoes would begin to sprout and patients would have to spend long hours in the cellar with only a 60-watt bulb removing the pesky roots. It was endless work because by the time the entire pile of potatoes had been sprouted, it was time to start over again.



At this time, the Johnson County Poor Farm and Asylum still farmed the same land that it had originally been built upon. These potatoes would have been planted, tended, harvested, and eaten by the inhabitants of the home. Other crops included: cows, pigs, corn, wheat, and other vegetables.

Cook preparing potatoes


Inhabitant removing sprouts

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