Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Carlisle in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Old Prison

Walking Tour Stop 5

 
 
Old Prison Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
1. Old Prison Marker
Inscription. Visitors are surprised and delighted to see an English looking castle standing in the heart of downtown Carlisle, but they wonder what it is and when it was built. For 130 years it was the Cumberland County Prison, and when it was constructed in 1834 it represented the latest fashion in Pennsylvania prison architecture made popular by architect John Haviland.

An earlier prison was erected at this location in 1754, and even though it was deemed unfit for human incarceration as early as the 1770's, it remained in use for another 80 years. Escapes were a common occurrence and for years the people of Carlisle pleaded for a new and stronger jail. In 1854, this prison was built, but determined inmates still managed to regularly break out. Some inmates chipped the plaster and mortar from the walls, removed the stones and crawled through the holes. Then lowering themselves from the cell block to the ground with blankets, they scaled the outer wall and fled. Others escaped by filing through the iron bars of their cells, and one prisoner even set fire to his flooring planks hoping to escape through the smoke screen. He failed.

The brownstone used in the construction of the 1854 prison was quarried in York County, Pennsylvania, and stones from the first prison were most likely used to make the prison yard walls. While the prison yard
Marker in Carlisle Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 7, 2010
2. Marker in Carlisle
was used mainly for exercise, the last hanging in the county took place there in 1894 when Charles Salyards was hanged for the murder of Policeman Charles E. Martin.

In 1984, a larger modern facility was built on Claremont Road, and the “old” prison has been readapted for county use.
 
Erected by Old Carlisle, Inc.
 
Location. 40° 12.084′ N, 77° 11.212′ W. Marker is in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in Cumberland County. Marker is at the intersection of High Street (Pennsylvania Route 74) and Bedford Street, on the left when traveling east on High Street. Click for map. Marker is at northwest corner of intersection. Marker is in this post office area: Carlisle PA 17013, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Carlisle Jail (a few steps from this marker); Duncan-Stiles House (within shouting distance of this marker); Gen. John Armstrong (within shouting distance of this marker); Gen. William Irvine (within shouting distance of this marker); World War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Frederick Douglass in Carlisle (within shouting distance
Old Prison and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
3. Old Prison and Marker
of this marker); John Bannister Gibson (within shouting distance of this marker); Episcopal Square (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Carlisle.
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesGovernment
 
Old Prison Marker Detail Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
4. Old Prison Marker Detail
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 1,118 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.   2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3, 4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement