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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mansfield in Richland County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

East Cell Block

 
 
East Cell Block Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel
1. East Cell Block Marker
Inscription.  The East Cell Block is 6 tiers high and constructed completely of steel. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest free-standing steel cell block, meaning that it is not connected to any outside wall. There are 50 cells to a range, 2 ranges per tier. The cells measure 7'x9' and holds two men to a cell for a combined total of 1,200 men.
The cell at the end of each range was a guard's room and housed the door closing mechanism. Each cell had a metal ticket on the rack. Pulling the lever would release all of the tickets and cell doors at one time. The doors opened or closed by turning the crank, which drove chains the length of the range. The system although antique now, was state-of-the-art in the 1950's.
Some of the inmates liked to play a game of chicken with the closing of the doors. Once an inmate lost the game by getting his head caught and crushed.
At the center of each tier is a door that opens to the alley. The alley contains all of the utilities for the cells. Sometimes prisoners misbehaved and flooded their cells. Guards could go back in the alley and shut off the water. At times the guards
East Cell Block image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel
2. East Cell Block
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would go in the alley to listen to prisoners' conversations through the vents in the cells to see if they were up to something. Once each shift, a guard was required to walk the length of the alleys down narrow catwalks.
It is said that the vent at the back of the cell was like a local telephone exchange. If you stood on the toilet and cupped your hands over the vent, you could talk with someone several cells away. However it was a party line, and there was a lot of interference.
On your walk around this cell block, try to imagine yourself, one other person, a desk, a stool, two foot lockers, and two bunks in each cell.
Better yet, step inside.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Law Enforcement.
 
Location. 40° 47.048′ N, 82° 30.137′ W. Marker is in Mansfield, Ohio, in Richland County. Located inside the former Ohio State Reformatory. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield OH 44905, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Chapel (a few steps from this marker); Brooks' Room (within shouting distance of this marker); The Ohio State Reformatory (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lt. Col. Jared Mansfield (approx. 1.8 miles away); First Religious Service
East Cell Block image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel
3. East Cell Block
Typical cell
(approx. 1.9 miles away); Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (approx. 1.9 miles away); Mansfield Blue Star Mothers War Memorial (approx. 1.9 miles away); Richland County Korean War Memorial (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mansfield.
 
Also see . . .  The Ohio State Reformatory. (Submitted on May 6, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
 
East Cell Block image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel
4. East Cell Block
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 6, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 6, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Jun. 20, 2021