An eye opening visit, the Harrisburg Poor House- which is also surrounded by the Pioneer Village– offers insight into what happened in the late 1800’s for those without funds or family to fall back on. The intentions were good. The Pauper Bill was passed to require counties to create a place for the poor to live and work the land for their keep.
Sadly the Poor House fell out of favor and went on to become an orphanage, a jail, an insane asylum, and a last, a place for refugees. Although the history began took a sad turn, today the building is the Saline County Museum and contains historic items such as a letter from William Jennings Bryan.Tours are offered at 2:00 PM each day except Monday. The cost is $3.00 for adults. For personal tours the cost is $5.00 any other time.
The surrounding village is very interesting and represents a pioneer settlement of the era 1800 to 1840. The village is a history lesson of architecture which includes a Blockhouse, a saddle bag cabin, a barn with a thrashing floor (one of the few remaining in the United States), a post office, a school, a Quaker Church, a jail, and a regular cabin.