Old Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville
I just found another glass negative! Thanks again to Mark D. Cowan from Texas Historical Commission for finding another one! This is the old Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville, Tennessee.
My glass negative photo above shows the Gothic-inspired administration building and walls of the Tennessee State Penitentiary taken after completion of the prison in 1898, by unidentified photographer. See the people in front of the building for prospective.
As stated on the site;
http://www.abandonedonline.net/2011/06/13/endangered-2011-tennessee-state-penitentiary/ it states that this building and location is not listed on any historic register, national or local. And it cannot be used as another prison or jail due to the court’s ruling [from a 1983 class action lawsuit]. While not in any danger of being demolished, the buildings will continue to deteriorate. Heat and humidity take their toll after only just a few years of closure, and this prison has been sealed since 1992. With its location close to downtown Nashville, reuse of the building should be a more pressing matter although it’s very specific design and construction doesn’t aid in its ability to be renovated into other purposes.
A historic postcard image:
Tennessee State Prison
Tennessee State Prison is a prison in Nashville that has been closed since 1989. The Green Mile, The Last Castle, Pillar‘s “Bring Me Down” video were also filmed there. Most recently VH1‘s Celebrity Paranormal Project filmed there for the third episode of the series called The Warden.
The proposed prison design called for the construction of a fortress-like structure patterned after the penitentiary at Auburn, New York, made famous for the lockstep marching, striped prisoner uniforms, nighttime solitary confinement, and daytime congregate work under strictly enforced silence. The new Tennessee prison contained 800 small cells, each designed to house a single inmate. In addition, an administration building and other smaller buildings for offices, warehouses, and factories were built within the twenty-foot (6.15m) high, three-foot (1m) thick rock walls. The plan also provided for a working farm outside the walls and mandated a separate system for younger offenders to isolate them from older, hardened criminals.
Construction costs for this second Tennessee State Penitentiary exceeded US$500,000 (US$12.3 million in 2007 dollars), not including the price of the land. The prison’s 800 cells opened to receive prisoners on February 12, 1898, and that day admitted 1,403 prisoners, creating immediate overcrowding. To a greater or lesser extent, overcrowding persisted throughout the next century. The original Tennessee State Penitentiary on Church Street was demolished later that year, and salvageable materials were used in the construction of outbuildings at the new facility, creating a physical link from 1830 to the present.
Every convict was expected to defray a portion of the cost of incarceration by performing physical labor. Within two years, inmates worked up to sixteen hours per day for meager rations and unheated, ventilated sleeping quarters. The State also contracted with private companies to operate factories inside the prison walls using convict labor.
The Tennessee State Penitentiary had its share of problems. In 1902, seventeen prisoners blew out the end of one wing of the prison, killing one inmate and allowing the escape of two others who were never recaptured. Later, a group of inmates seized control of the segregated white wing and held it for eighteen hours before surrendering. In 1907 several convicts commandeered a switch engine and drove it through a prison gate. In 1938 inmates staged a mass escape. Several serious fires ignited at the penitentiary, including one that destroyed the main dining room. Riots occurred in 1975 and 1985. Wikipedia
Above information at the link: http://historicnashville.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/tennessee-state-prison/