Old New-Gate Prison

East Granby, Connecticut

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The Old New-Gate Prison is located at 115 Newgate Road in East Granby, Connecticut (Hartford County).

The Old New-Gate Prison, the first State Prison in America, was used from 1773 until 1827. It was constructed on the site of a copper mine that was used previously from 1705 until sometime in the 1750's. It was one of the first commercial mines in the British Colonies. Today the site is used as a park and museum.

The first prisoner at New-Gate Prison was John Hinson, who was sent there on December 22, 1773 for the crime of burglary. He escaped the prison eighteen days later. In addition to the usual crimes, political prisoners were also held there during the Revolutionary War. In 1824, the first women offenders were committed there for their crimes. Prisoners were required to work in the mine as part of their sentence.

The Old New-Gate Prison was declared a National Historic Landmark in the 1970's, and it is now owned and operated by the State of Connecticut. The guardhouse is the only building still standing; only ruins remain of the other structures. Visitors are also able to enter part of the copper mine, where the solitary confinement area is located.

Conditions at New-Gate Prison weren't very nice...perhaps that is why there are now ghost stories associated with it. Most of the ghostly legends are related to the mine. Some people claim to see a man's face in one area. Legend has it that he was killed in the mine when the ceiling collapsed on him. Others see the apparition of a man climbing a rope by the well. As he was trying to escape, the rope broke and he crashed down the shaft to his death.

For more information about the Old New-Gate Prison, please visit the official site. There is also a lot of information on the East Granby website.

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