In 1839 Wayne County purchased the Black Horse Tavern, a stagecoach stop, Located here on the Chicago road, for use as a poorhouse. Early on the poorhouse accepted not only the county's indigent, but the infirm and mentally ill as well. During the late nineteenth century, the number of residents grew, and new buildings were constructed to meet the demand. In 1894 a post office opened on the grounds with the name Eloise, a name that became synonymous with what developed into a 902-acre, 75 building complex. By the late 1920's Eloise's population had peaked at 10,000 patients and 2000 staff, A city in itself. Eloise had its own farm, cannery, bakery, cemetery, employee housing, police and fire departments, trolly and train stations, and 16 kitchens that served 30,0000 meals daily.