History Walk: The Pest House
In Iowa, United States
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Geocaching took me to a lot of special places, and made me enjoy local history.
This cache has been placed with the permission from Mr. Mike Moran, Director of the IC Parks. There is a large trail to lead you almost to the cache. The coords bounce around, but the large pill bottle is inside a standing tree, a few feet from the trail. Look up.
Please, respect the park rules. Open from dawn to dusk.
At the entrances of the park, there are panels with descriptions, pictures and maps of some of the Hickory Hill Park landmarks.(Picture#1)
Around 1974, Irving Weber, in the volume 1 of his Iowa City series gives some insights about the “Pest house”.
It was an isolation ward for victims of smallpox and other highly contagious diseases, who had no one to care for them. “Hospitals in the city had no isolation wards and the pest House was the only place smallpox victims could be isolated, in a remote area behind Oakland Cemetery to remove them from all contact with the city.”
Three consecutive buildings have been used from around 1881 for almost half a century. This building is the third one and there are no information as to when the building discontinued handling smallpox and other contagious deceases or when it was torn down. (Picture#2)
Not much is left of the building, just a significant depression. Watch your step.
In 2011 an excavation field season by The University of Iowa took place to train students in archaeological field methods and to get a better map of the house foundations.
(See picture#3, courtesy of Prof. Margaret Beck and Dr. William Whittaker)
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 8/20/2015 3:45:02 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:45 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum