Monday, March 29, 2010

Salem Jail’s Open House

Long line of people waiting to get in

There was never a time during the Salem Jail’s existence that people would be waiting to get in to the Jail, but it happened yesterday during a scheduled open house.

There were about 30-50 people in line at any one moment and about an equal number of people in the Jail itself.  Several hundred people likely went through.  (Relatively few people visited the other buildings in the open house, the jailer’s building and the (reconstructed) carriage house.)

There wasn’t much overlap between the areas we were allowed to visit in the open house, and the parts of the Jail that Dan Stanwood took me through two years ago.  The open house took us through the eastern side of the building facing the parking lot;  the tour was mostly on the west side.  (Dan offered to take my party through more of the facility but we were short on time and I had had enough video to make the show out of anyway.)

The front entrance hasn’t changed much from then:

Main entrance, old Jail


Main entrance, new Jail

The pay phone pedestal is still there!  If you’re observant, you may have noted the white metal wheelchair lift in the old photo.  Inmates with disabilities were brought in with the lift (and stayed on the first floor as the rest of the building was not accessible.)

Today, there’s a ramp, or what appears to be one.

Wheelchair ramp, new Jail

Inside, one of the old cells near the entrance has been preserved:

old Jail cell

This will be part of a small museum.

The new Jail has an elevator:

Salem Jail elevator

Reportedly, the hook on the ceiling of the dining area upon which people were hanged, is still there in one of the units:

Hanging hook

One of the units:

One unit, overlooking St. Johns

In a few months this could be someone’s home.

Grafitti on Jail door:  This is my home

My Flickr stream of the old Salem Jail.

My Flickr stream of the Salem Jail renovation, including the open house.

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