Road Trip – Old Maine State Prison Grounds
If you get a chance, stop by the old Maine State Prison grounds in Thomaston. The grounds are rich in history. The original prison that use to be there was built in 1824. It was actively used until 2002 when the inmates were transferred to the new correctional facility in Warren.
The prison cells were originally just holes in the ground with grates over them so no one could escape. Prisoners were lowered into these holes each night after working in the lime quarry. Eventually this was considered to be barbaric and cells were built in a wooden building. The wooden barracks were replaced with brick but were destroyed in 1923 by a disastrous fire. The inmates incarcerated at the time received accolades for their bravery fighting the fire.
The inmates were relocated in 2002 and at that time the old Maine State prison was torn down. Before it was demolished, the public was invited to tour the inside of the prison. Thousands of people arrived to see the inside of Maine State prison before it was gone forever. It was easy to see the living conditions, especially in the oldest portion of the prison, were harsh and Inhospitable.
Today you can visit the 35 acres where are Maine State prison once stood. There is one corner left of what was once massive wall surrounding Maine State prison. Additionally you can visit the cemetery where many inmates were buried without even a marker for their final resting place.
The park is peaceful and beautiful where once Maine’s most dangerous inmates were incarcerated. There is now a gazebo, playing field for the local kids, a short walking trail that overlooks the St. George River and several large stones taken from the quarry.
An interesting experience awaits at the old Maine State Prison grounds.