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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Jail
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Rick Lemoine Sr. - Report this comment
I am almost sure that the Jail was located at the corner of Summer and Central st. The main post office is now on one corner and the is a hotel/Motel where the Jail was. Plummly Village and treat me Donut shop is in the same area.
Pete Taylor - Report this comment
This jail was on Summer St. I remember going there on a tour either from the church group or school. It was on a hilly slope as shown and, if you were to leave Union Station and go down Summer St, the jail was on the right hand side of the street.
Jim Servideo - Report this comment
I remember walking past this jail many times when I was a boy. It was located on the land that is currently Aku Aku Restaurant and Hampton Inn on the corner of Summer and East Central Streets. It bordered the neighborhood that contained such streets as Arch St., Fountain Street, Orchard St., Clayton St., and Prospect St. Most of these streets were lost with the construction of Plumley Village.
The building was demolished in 1975.
Mark G. Sullivan - Report this comment
I grew up in Plumley Village; 1 Prospect Street. The jail was directly across the street from my apartment, on the corner of Prospect and Summer streets. I remember watching an inmate push out the bars, use sheets as rope to climb down and onto a building behind the 12-15 foot wall going alongside Prospect Street. From there he jumped onto the wall and climbed down to freedom. His shirt still showed the dark numbers, and my friend, Larry Hughes, suggested he turn his shirt inside out, which he did. I have many,many,many memories of this building:watching inmates escape,watching them getting caught and beaten,touring when it closed,watching it get demolished and seeing the rats and bats fleeing,taking copper wire from the inside to turn into salvage (older kids climbed roofs and took the copper),bonfires which caused swat teams to disperse us. Fond,fond, memories indeed.
Pete Taylor - Report this comment
I found an old book dated 1931, "Old Landmarks and Historic Spots of Worcester Massachusetts" that mentions there were 4 jails. The first was up Lincoln St just above the square and was erected in 1733. It was made of white oak timber and the first jailer was named Luke Brown. The second jail (1753) stood at the corner of Summer St at Lincoln Square. It also was made of wood. Notable persons confined were Mrs spooner, the daughter of Brigadier General Ruggles of Hardwick, a prominant man of the county. She, and 3 cronies were convicted of killing her husband. She was later hanged in Washington Square at what is now the Union Station. During the Revolution, this jail held many British prisoners and Tories. The 3d jail (1788) was erected on the same site and was made of Granite. The most noteable person confined was Timothy Bigelow, the village blacksmith who was a leader of the minutemen. He was confined for debt incurred because of the war and died in jail in 1790. The 4th jail is the one shown above. It was built in 1835. After completion, the 3d jail was torn down. Hangings were conducted at the new jail and continued until 1876. The book author mentions that the last rope used is still on display in the jail (1931).
The last Worcester jail was on the corner of Summer and east central street, across from where the post office is now.
Robert Frost - Report this comment
My great grandfather Samuel Jay Frost was hanged for murder at this jail and is the last man hanged in Worcester County. I have some of his letters his hanging formal portrait, and other family memos. He is buried Dover, NH
Larry Fleming - Report this comment
The address of the Old Worcester County Jail was 116 Summer St. Where the Post office is now at Central & Summer was the Insane Hospital back in the mid to late 1800s. If you were going south on I-290 you could look down into the Jails exercise yard. The picture shown here is a 1907 Post Cards. The jail had 3 sections Females in the South Block, Waiting trial was North Block & sentenced East Block. Up to the 1970s when it closed it was the oldest opperating jail in the country. Inmates were still using Honey Buckets as the were know for toilets up till it closed.
The message below the main picture states: "I'm not sure where this used to be, the police station is the only real jail in Worcester now."...The Worcester Police Station isn't the only jail in Worcester. The Worcester County House of Correction, Sheriff's Dept. is in Worcester/West Boylston. I just thought I'd give you this little bit of information to add to your site. Other than that I'd like to comment on your site. It is a great site and I visit it often. I was wondering if it wasn't too much of a bother if you could reply with any other information concerning literature about Worcester in the past. (specifically the worcester state mental hosp. aka bloomingdale insane asylum) I am especially interested and intrigued by this facility and I visit it's remains frequently...Thank you very much!!
Richard smith - Report this comment
Before they moved the jail to West Boylston in 1972,Summer st. jail was the oldest working jail in the United States..Three tiers high.No running water in the cells,You used buckets to go to the bathroom,a very dark dank place and when they moved to the new jail everybody was very happy....
Terry Grimala - Report this comment
Many of the others are correct on the location. The jail was on a section bounded by Summer and Prospect Sts on one side. As a very young child I used to live across the street from the jail at 35 Prospect St. This neighborhood was taken for I-290. The police station used to be on Waldo Street behind Mechanics Hall, which held some cells
Jonas F. Rudy - Report this comment
I used to live acrossed the street from this jail and I too remember escapes. You could see the jail court yard from our window. I was living there at the time they demolished it but I had a chance to see the inside before they did. I seen the poor conditions of the cells and I seen the Wardens office. We found old helments that all long gone now.
Alton Drake - Report this comment
Like Mark Sullivan and Jonas Rudy, who I remember very well, I too did witness the jail escapes. I remember the shot gun incident as well. Plumley Village was definitely an interesting place to grow up and then leave. Now living in Florida and doing very-well...
Jackie Rudy - Report this comment
Hello, My name is Jackie Rudy, I was shocked to see a message from my brother Joey on this page, I wonder how long it has been here. I was only small but I remember the jail, too. It was scary. I remember it being burned down too. I also remember a few of the names mentioned. Like Alton, I believe you were in a band with my brother Danny, and Mark, I remember my brother Wayne when I think of your name. Please, If any of you are still out there, write me at jaxsrudi@yahoo.com. B lookin out,
Kevin J. FLynn - Report this comment
I grew up on the county farm in West Boylston. My father was the Deputy Master/Special Sheriff during the time the Jain & HofC was relocated to West Boylston in 1973/74. I used to play in various areas of the old jail. I am currently researching the history of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office. I can be contacted at kflynn1228@charter.net if you have any info I might be interested in.
I used to go to the jail when I was a very small child. We knew it as 'The Residence'. We mostly had family parties in the upstairs portion of the jail. It's location is where the old Aku Aku restaurant was - now there is a Picadilly Pub at that location.
My dad was a worcester police officer in the 60s. One day while out running errands he had to go to jail. I'll never forget that day, as we we given a look inside. The jail guard pulled away this huge canvas wall and inside were the cells. The prisoners were yelling and calling us to come in. The guard then asked my father " have these boys been good?" The look on our faces must have been priceless, because the memory is. I can remember begging our dad leave and go home. Also do you remember the jails farm truck that was filled with prisoners They would commute to the farm during the spring and summer.
Sheldon McCorn - Report this comment
I grew up after the on 1 Prospect Street after the jail had closed, and before they put up the hotel and restaurant in that lot. A bunch of us from the neighborhood played football in that lot on the weekends. I remember when they brought it all down. I also remember a huge turtle being found in there. The picture at the top of this page is what used to be a mental hospital and is up on Belmont Street just before U Mass and is near the area of the WAARC Camp Joy is.
James Cavanaugh- July 24, 2007 - Report this comment
My siblings and I used to go to Sacred Heart in the early 70's. On I-290, we could see prisoners looking out their cell windows. Not much of a view. A couple of years later, my friends and I went into the abandoned jail and viewed the cells (and smashed a few things in the warden's residence). Pretty dank, dirty, and depressing. Stay out of trouble.
Alton Drake- August 05, 2007 - Report this comment
Jackie Rudy, yes I'm who you say I am. Anyway, I did respond to your e-mail. I miss the old village... Remember the 4 of July bon-fires on the old jail property?
Mark Sullivan- November 14, 2007 - Report this comment
Alton, this is Mark Sullivan. I do remember the bonfires: particularly the bonfire of 76. Remember the big tree was also lit? And tires were placed on fire on the hydrants so the firemen couldn't put it out? I too miss the fun times we all had at the village.
Alton- May 02, 2008 - Report this comment
Hey Mark, how's the family? I just moved to New Jersey from Florida and plan on going up to Worcester several times soon to scope out the area. Anyway, I miss the old hood and I have a picture of the tree believe it or not...
Mark Sullivan- November 01, 2008 - Report this comment
Hello Alton: I'm married and living in Utah; been out here for over 20 years. I have 4 daughters. Was home in August; I miss the fish-n-chips and a lot of Worcester. I went up to Bell Pond and to Plumley. Sheldon McCorn: please tell your sister I said hello (if she remembers me!)
jim sadowski- December 15, 2008 - Report this comment
from the "1900 Dictionary of Worcester" http://www.archive.org/stream/dictionaryofworc00rice/dictionaryofworc00rice_djvu.txt Jail and House of Correction. — In 1732 a portion of the house of William Jennison on Court hill was used as a Jail, a "cage" for temporary' use being built there. In 1733 this cage was removed to the house of Daniel Heywood, where the Bay State House now stands. The first jail proper, erected in 1733, stood on Lincoln street, a short distance from Lincoln square. In 1753 a new jail was built a few rods south of the former prison, which was used till 1788, when the stone jail in Lincoln square was completed. This latter was "judged to be at least the second stone building of consequence in the Commonwealth; none being thought superior except the stone (King's) chapel in Boston." It was claimed that it would not need any repairs except the roof for two or three centuries; but in 1835 the building was demolished, and the jail removed to its present quarters on Summer street, where the House of Correction had been establisbed in 1819. The present jail building was remodeled in 1873 at an expense of $192,000, and was occupied in March, 1874. It contains cells for 194 prisoners, though many more have been confined here at one time. There are three large and comfortable apartments in the hospital ward, and the sick are attended by the city physician. There is a library of 500 volumes, accessible ever Sunday to the prisoners. Protestant and Catholic preachers alternate in Sunday worship. The number of committents during the year 1891 was 2,083. Of these 131 were women, and 169 minors. The total cost of maintaining the institution for 1891, was $28,991.46, of which $11,828.89 was for salaries. Amount received from labor of prisoners $4,448.96; from other sources $359.40. Total $4,808.36. Sheriff Samuel D. Nye is jailer, ex-officio. Robert H. Chamberlain is keeper of the Jail and master of the House of Correction. The Jail building is about one quarter of a mile north of the Union railroad station, or midway between Washington and Lincoln squares
Michelle Carvajal (Drake)- January 22, 2009 - Report this comment
WoW !! The gangs all here!.... Googled my brother and was brought to this memory.....The jail was so much a part of all of our GOOD memories of living in Plumly. I have told sooo many stories about those experiences. My kids grew up wishing they were there. The night that the bonfire went up, I'm sure that none of the kids involved had any idea that the building would go up as well....All I can say is I had a great youth...Even the day those two guys broke out and the gun shot scared the hell out of us... The history of many places we hung out amazes me today.....
S. Shaw- February 12, 2009 - Report this comment
A family member recently turned up an 1880 census showing that my great-great grandfather was a prisoner at this jail, at 116 Summer St. I would love to find out what he was "in" for. Would any one have advice on where records from this era might be found?
jim sadowski- March 04, 2009 - Report this comment
To S. Shaw, City if Worcester had good records from 1848 to today. The thousands of records are not on the internet. But if you are willing to spent $ for a specific record the city may be able to help. Call them (the city), if you are serious about a single record, otherwise maybe someone at this site has access to city records (doubt access not to anyone, suspect access other to city employees).
JD- March 26, 2009 - Report this comment
Does anyone know where I can find info about when Worcester had a volunteer police dept/team? Thanks!
Roger h- November 23, 2009 - Report this comment
i remember a story told that many years ago at the h of c there was a fire in one of the cell blocks where some 20 lives were lost.any truth to this???they never did reopen that block
david g. monahan jr.- September 15, 2010 - Report this comment
my great grandmother said the cop on foot patrol use to sneak up on her porch and sleep in the hammock and she never told a soul she didnot want to lose the protection by the risk of him sleeping elsewhere it was in worcester in the early twenties she was born in 1890 in greendale ma.
JUNE- January 12, 2012 - Report this comment
WHAT WAS THE RESTAURANT CALLED BEFORE IT WAS THE AKU AKU?
jon stebbins- February 10, 2012 - Report this comment
The was also a police station with some cells on waldo st. It is on the historical registar. It now serves as a bar/club
Ted- February 20, 2013 - Report this comment
June: Before it was the Aku-Aku, it was Vallee's (Steakhouse).
kathy d- September 04, 2013 - Report this comment
boy this brings back memories of old Worcester. As a kid you would by this building and just look at it. It was a scary old building! Summer street has really changed from days of old
Moe- December 15, 2013 - Report this comment
When I saw your name posted here, it brought back a lot of pain. Why did you reject me?
Dave- April 06, 2014 - Report this comment
Does anyone know anything about the old tunnel system that runs under main and exchange st? I've herd rumors that the old jail on Waldo at May have an entrance
old fool- May 19, 2014 - Report this comment
actualy the 0ne I an my very abusive step mom was in was at boyelston square right across from the new train train station, but back then it was, old an in need of love, the train station
Sheila- November 12, 2014 - Report this comment
I have discovered my grandmother was an inmate there in 1930. Shocker!!! Does anyone know how to find a register that might reveal inmates' crimes???

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