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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Penitentiary House

 
 
The Penitentiary House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
1. The Penitentiary House Marker
MDCCXCVII = 1797
“Hic Labor, hoc opus!” translates as “Here labor, here toil!”
Inscription.
Labour, Silence, Penitence
The Penitentiary House
Erected by Legislative Authority
Richard Howell, Governor
In the XXII Year of Amern Independence
MDCCXCVII
That those who are feared for their crimes
May learn to fear the laws and be useful
“Hic Labor hoc opus!”

 
Erected 1797.
 
Location. 40° 12.367′ N, 74° 45.417′ W. Marker is in Trenton, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Marker is on Second Street just north of Cass Street when traveling north. Touch for map. This marker is above the front door of this building. Marker is in this post office area: Trenton NJ 08611, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Residence of John A. Roebling (approx. ¼ mile away); Water Power and Industry (approx. 0.4 miles away); The World Arrives … … Trenton Thrives (approx. 0.4 miles away); Trenton Iron Works 1847-1867
The Penitentiary House image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
2. The Penitentiary House
(approx. 0.4 miles away); John Fitch Steamboat Dock (approx. half a mile away); Route of Washington’s March (approx. half a mile away); “… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] (approx. half a mile away); “The Whole Art, Secret and Mystery of Manufacturing Sturgeon” (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
 
Regarding The Penitentiary House. “Some of the ideas which dominated the minds of the builders of the original state prison are reflected in the inscription which they placed over the door … The influence of the ideas of the Quakers of Philadelphia is readily apparent in this inscription. In addition to the emphasis upon hard labor as punishment, this inscription gives evidence of some rudimentary grasp of the deterrent and reformatory aspects of punishment of imprisonment.” —Report of the Prison Inquiry
Looking Down Second Street image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
3. Looking Down Second Street
The Penitentiary House is on the right. The Egyptian revival walls of the 1830s compound of the state prison with the addition of modern watchtowers and barbed wire can be seen in the background.
Commission, History of New Jersey Penal Institutions by Harry E. Barnes 1917

 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
The First State Prison of New Jersey, 1797-1836. image. Click for full size.
Report of the Prison Inquiry Commission, History of New Jersey Penal Institutions
4. The First State Prison of New Jersey, 1797-1836.
The Penitentiary House is on the left.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 4, 2008, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,850 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 4, 2008, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey.
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