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H03-1513. Ottawa County Family Independence Agency/Community Haven. Records, 1866-2020. 11.00 linear ft.

Identifier: H03-1513

Scope and Contents

The collection contains histories, original records from the poor farm, meeting minutes, departmental annual reports, newspaper clippings, photographs and memorabilia from the farm’s inception in the late1800s through many expansions, building of new facilities, and the eventual closing of the facility and the uncertainty of the county’s new use of the property in 2003. The collection is arranged alphabetically.


  • 1866 - 2020


The Ottawa County poor farm was developed in the late 1800s to house indigent residents of the county. By working with crops or with the dairy herd, persons could pay off their debts and be released. Some of the residents who were unable to cope with life in the outside world were housed at the facility permanently. The farm served as a refuge for the poor and mentally disabled until 2000, when the facility closed and the residents were moved to other facilities. Most of the buildings on the 229 acre property have been destroyed. There is a small cemetery on the property. The land is currently leased to local farmers by the county and there are plans to possibly turn the property into a park or educational farm, although there are no firm plans to do so.


11.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Also known as the Ottawa County Poor Farm/Work Farm/Poor House/Infirmary/Community Haven from 1887-1997. The collection includes Ottawa County Circuit Court records of persons housed at the facility titled “Ottawa County Infirmary Records of Inmates,” transcribed in 2002 by Holland Genealogical Society members Irene Reidsma and Darlene Winter; histories; newspaper clippings about the facility (1887-2011); photographs; correspondence; audiotape cassette and transcription of 1978 facilities addition dedication; original scrapbook and photocopies; loose clippings; receipts and correspondence, 1891-1973; yearbooks; Haven Hilite (1986-1987); receipt ledger, 1915-1921; Record of Inmates of the Poor House ledger, 1887-1933; compact disk (CD) titledThe Poor Farm: A Broadcast Production by WGVU/NPR with David Moore, Featuring the Friends of Ottawa County Parks Project to Restore and Preserve the Cemetery at Eastmanville Farm, November 2-3, 2009; and materials concerning the 2010 Poor Farm Cemetery dedication. Detailed Collection Register available.


82 images (Boxes 2, 6, 9)


Ottawa County Family Independence Agency

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Joint Archives of Holland Repository

Theil Research Center
9 East 10th Street
Holland Michigan 49423 United States