Fmr Charles Street Jail - Boston, MA, USA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 21.694 W 071° 04.222
19T E 329507 N 4691997
Quick Description: The grey granite structure that was the Charles Street Jail and now is the Liberty Hotel was built as a state-of-the-art facility in 1851 as a new way to treat inmates.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 5/6/2009 8:28:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM6B7W
At the point where Storrow Drive, Charles Street, Main Street (Cambridge), and Cambridge Street mingle, there is a multi-story grey granite building that stands among taller glass, concrete and brick buildings. This building is now the Liberty Hotel, a high class hotel that has preserved much of the original structure. Before it was a hotel, it was the Charles Street Jail, which was for a long time the jail for Suffolk County (which covers Boston plus Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere).
The jail was designed by Gridley F. Bryant in collaboration with Rev. Louis Dwight, a known prison reformer, and built in 1851 to replace existing facilities. Dwight introduced ideas, known as the Auburn Plan, such as ample light using wall and cell windows, large spaces for communal work, and exposure to fresh breezes.
Notable inmates that were housed here include former Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, Malcolm X, Ferdinando Sacco, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Also prisoners from German U-Boat 234 were housed here.
Eventually, the jail could no longer house all the inmates for the county. In 1973, a Federal Court ruled that overcrowding violated the inmates rights and ordered the shut down of the jail. The facility wasn't closed until 1990. Inmates were moved to a new facility on Nashua Street.
In the mid 2000s, the building underwent extensive reconstruction. In the summer of 2007, the Liberty Hotel opened. The lobby of the hotel is in the octagonal core of the building. Each wing protrudes from the lobby (though one end was truncated). There is a restaurant-bar called "The Clink." Off the lobby is a hall that still has some of the prison doors and other historical information.
Wikipedia Entry for the Charles Street Jail: