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Crawfordsville in Montgomery County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Montgomery County Rotary Jail

 
 
Montgomery County Rotary Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 24, 2007
1. Montgomery County Rotary Jail Marker
Inscription. This jail and sheriff’s residence built 1882. First rotary jail built in U. S. constructed to plans based on patented design of William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh of Indianapolis. In use until 1973. Opened as museum and restoration begun 1975. Listed in National Register of Historic Places 1975.

Circular cell block has sixteen wedge-shaped cells on a two-story turntable around a central shaft. Design promised better prisoner security and jailer safety. Cell block immobilized 1930’s as hazard to prisoners. County jails first established 1792 under laws of Northwest Territory; continued under laws of Indiana Territory and State Constitutions of 1816 and 1851.
 
Erected 2000 by Indiana Historical Bureau and Montgomery County Cultural Foundation, Inc. (Marker Number 54.2000.1.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Indiana State Historical Bureau Markers marker series.
 
Location. 40° 2.628′ N, 86° 54.092′ W. Marker is in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of North Washington Street and U.S. 231 on North Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 225 North Washington Street, Crawfordsville IN 47933, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Side Two image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 24, 2007
2. Side Two
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Otto Schlemmer Building (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Montgomery County's Tribute to her Heroic Dead (about 700 feet away); Cradle of Basketball (approx. 0.2 miles away); Speed Cabin (approx. 0.2 miles away); Federal Land Office (approx. 0.2 miles away); Saint John's Episcopal Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Crawfordsville (Indiana) Carnegie Library (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Crawfordsville.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Squirrel Cage Jail Marker
 
Also see . . .
1. County Jail History. (Submitted on November 30, 2007, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
2. 1886 - John Henning::. (Submitted on August 27, 2011, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
Lazy Suzan Jail:: Montgomery County Indiana image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 24, 2007
3. Lazy Suzan Jail:: Montgomery County Indiana
Montgomery County Rotary Tour Guide image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
4. Montgomery County Rotary Tour Guide
A very small fee will get you a guided tour of the complex. Take your camera, your tour guide will photo you in a cell. Questions about the jail are answered, from top floor to basement.
Montgomery County Living Quarters for Sheriff image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
5. Montgomery County Living Quarters for Sheriff
Lining the stair well to the second floor of the Sheriff's living quarters are paintings of the County Commissioners who built the jail in 1881-82 for $35,000 when that was beyond thought. Those County Commissioners were not re-elected but, the jail does exist.
Montgomery County Rotary Jail Cell image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
6. Montgomery County Rotary Jail Cell
There is only one steel bunk showing now. Cells held two per cell. The prisoner would get a mat to put on the steel bunk. On the back wall is a notch that use to hold the toilet. Everything is made of steel.
Double Decker Circular Cells Rotate Like a Lazy Suzan image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
7. Double Decker Circular Cells Rotate Like a Lazy Suzan
Two stories high, eight cell per level for a total of sixteen cells. Each cell held two prisoners. The lazy suzan cell block provided only one door for access.
Rotating Steel Shaft image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
8. Rotating Steel Shaft
The entire steel rotary cell block, 27 TONS, rests and twists on this central shaft. It only takes 13 1/2 pounds of pressure to crank the cells around. The steel shaft goes to bedrock and is well cemented. If the building's walls were removed, the cell blocks would still be standing on this steel shaft.
Inner Workings viewed up through center of the two story cell block image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
9. Inner Workings viewed up through center of the two story cell block
This view taken from the basement up through center. The non-flushing toilets drop waste down to a manual drain in the basement which was cleaned daily by opening a valve in the basement.
Mini - Museum of Past Bad Guys who Met their End. image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
10. Mini - Museum of Past Bad Guys who Met their End.
The steel "eye" encased in a wood frame was used for the hang man's rope.
OLD: "Empire Voting Machine" (portable) made in: Jamestown, N. Y.. image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
11. OLD: "Empire Voting Machine" (portable) made in: Jamestown, N. Y..
Kept stored in the Jail basement is this old Voting Machine.
Door way leads to: "Turnkey Gift Shop & Gallery" image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 13, 2008
12. Door way leads to: "Turnkey Gift Shop & Gallery"
When done with the tour, feel free to buy a gift or two to help keep the Jail Museum up and running.
National Register - - Museum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, July 20, 2008
13. National Register - - Museum Marker
On right side of the front door. Can be seen there by clicking the building photo to see the details.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 30, 2007, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 6,702 times since then and 101 times this year. Last updated on August 27, 2011, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 30, 2007, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on July 13, 2008, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.   13. submitted on July 22, 2008, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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