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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, February 27, 1913, Image 1

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90060762/1913-02-27/ed-1/seq-1/

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Vol. XXVI.—No. 30
Minnesota’s New Prison Nears Completion
From The Stillwater Gazette.
SITUATED on a plateau over
looking tlie beautiful St. Croix
river, two miles south of
Stillwater, reached from this city
by the electric railway of the Twin
City Rapid Transit Co., and the
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and
Omaha railway, is the new state
prison, contracts for which are
practically completed, and the
buildings of which are in part oc
cupied by inmates and in use for
manufacturing purposes.
The site selected for this modern
bastile is in many respects ideal. It
overlooks Lake St. Croix at a suffi
cient height to afford excellent
drainage and an ample stream of
the purest spring w'ater that gushes
out from under the high hills to the
west, traverses a beautiful meadow
for a half mile or more, and is con
fined and carried to the high w r ater
tower inside the prison walls fur
nishes a sufficient amount of that
necessary article, not only for do
mestic uses, but as well for protec
tion from fire. Scattered through
out the yard are many fire hydrants,
with ample pressure, and a com
plete system of automatic sprink
lers has been installed so that the
danger from fire is reduced to the
The ground purchased by the
state for prison purposes comprises
some 156 acres, chiefly the old
homestead of the late Joseph Perro,
of pleasant memory. The prison
inclosure consists of 22 acres of
ground, surrounded by a reinforced
concrete wall on three sides, the ad
ministration building and the two
wings of the great cellhouse com
prising the east wall facing the St.
Twenty-two acres is some inclos
ure, as Mr. Olson, the contractor
and builder of the new prison will
testify, but it is not too much for
the proper disposition of the im
mense buildings that are and will
be erected therein and too in addition
give room for the movements of a
thousand or more persons in their
daily tasks.
Outside the prison wall to the
north is a mall that runs the entire
length of the state’s property from
east to west and is three hrndred
feet in width, in the nature of an
approach or setting for the entire
institution. When, in a few years,
this mall and the property of the
state east of the administration
building, the latter overlooking the
St. Croix to the east, shall have
been graded, sodded, parked and
otherwise beautified, one may imag
ine what an attractive spot this will
have become —referring of course
entirely, to outside the prison walls.
Looking to the best interests of
the state as well as its wards, the
board of control has, in addition to
acquiring the acres spoken of, taken
an option on an additional 160 acres
of tine farm land to the south of the
Perro property, known as the
O'Neal farm, and these acres to
gether with those first acquired will
be “farmed” and “gardened,” the
crops being used by the inmates of
the institution and if there be an
excess, shipments may be made to
other institutions of a similar char
acter throughout the state.
The limits of a newspaper article
preclude the possibility of an ex
tended description of the buildings
and the mass of machinery and fix
tures that are necessary to the com
pletion of this modern place of in
carceration and, let us hope, reform;
but in everything that has been
done in the erection of this splendid
piece of work particular care has
Last Word In Modern Prison Building Said on Completion of Minnesota’s
Great Reformatory and Manufacturing Institution. Overlooking St. Groix
River Two Miles South of Stillwater—Twenty-two acres of Ground, Inclosed by
Reinforced Goncrete Wall, Within Which Are Great Structures That Will
house Nearly Fifteen Hundred Gonvicts and Where Factories and Ware
houses for Twine Plant and Farm Machinery Have and Will Be Erected—
-More Than Two and a Half Million Dollars Represent Gost of Institution
Which Will Be Repaid to State Out of Profits of Manufacturing Plants —
Prison, As Gompleted, Represents 1 Warden Wolfer’s Enlightened Ideas As to
Gareof State’s Unfortunates.
The new prison has cost
up to now approximately
$2,250,000. When entire
ly completed the cost will
be nearly $500,000 in ad
There are 22 acres within
the inclosure surrounded by
the concrete wall.
The state has acquired
156 acres for use of the pris
on, and has an option on an
additional 160 acres south
and adjoining'.
At its proposed maximum
the new prison will have a
capacity of nearly 1,500
It has been about three
years since work was beg'un
on the first contracts.
It will be nearly two years
before the old prison will be
abandoned and all convicts
been taken, first, to the safety and
health of the unfortunates who are
confined there and secondly to the
convenience and facilities for car
rying on a great manufacturing en
terprise, for notwithstanding that
the Minnesota state prison is a pe
nal institution it is as well a great
manufacturing concern, and the
policy of the state is to make each of
the men who are held in durance,
not only pay for his support but as
well earn something for the state,
and for himself. In this manner
does the state justify its great ex
penditure for a model prison, as a
place where men may do a day’s
work under conditions that are the
least possible depressing; in no oth-
Some New Prison Building Statistics
take up their residence at
the new prison.
At present are 292
inmates at the new prison.
Deputy Warden Robert M.
Coles is in charge.
The entire twine plant is
now housed in the new
Capacity of twine plant is
eighteen milliop lbs. annu
In building' the prison the
following items entered into
the cost:
i 120,000 yards of rock and
earth excavation.
75,000 parrels of Uni
versal Poitland
35,000 cubic yards of
crushed rock.
50,000 cubic yards of
sand and gravel.
er way, the state claims, is jt justi
fied in keeping its cri ninals in bond
age. The state is iving each of
these men an oppoi mity to work
out their own s nation. Hard
work, good food, oanimry condi
tions, including an ample supply
of God’s sunlight—every cell has
this last —the state believes will do
the most for those who are com
mitted to its care.
Not more than a brief description
of the buildings will be attempted
in this article, but such will, it is
hoped, give a fair idea of the insti
tution on which the state has al
ready expended some two and a
quarter million dollars and that ere
6,000,000 common and
hollow bricK.
2,000,000 Twin City pres
eed brick.
850,000 salt glazed brick.
40,000 cubic feet cut
220,000 square feet inte
rior stone floor
and polished mar
2.000 tons of structural
60,000 square feet steel
40,000 square feet Fama
stonewood floors.
220,000 feet lumber for
false work.
60 carloads roofing'
$500,000 paid out in wages
An average of 200 men
employed for two and one
half years.
its completion another five hundred
thousand be added to the sum.
The eutrance to the prison is
through the administration building,
which faces the east, overlooking
the St. Croix, and at a height o f
perhaps forty feet from that body
of water; this building is in the
center and in front of the main cell
building which forms the eastern
boundary of the inclosure. In en
tering the administration building
one passes through a spacious, well
lighted corridor into a rotunda; on
the right is the office of -the warden,
facing the front; the front stair hall
and vestibule are on the opposite
side to the warden’s office; the office
of the prison where the clerks, and
_ j Jl.OOa Year
TERMS:'! 6 Months Fifty Cts.
bookkeepers and all the accountants
will have room is to the right and
has an east and north light; all the.
accessories necessary to the transac
tion of the great business of the in
stitution are found here; these in
clude roomy vaults for the storing
of the books, pavers and records of
the prison. Adjoining to the west
jis an adequate office for the convict
[clerks. On the south side of this
Ibuilding is located the visitors’ re
ception room, 30x5t> feet; there are
also offices for the board of ccntrol
and these connect with the turn
key’s office for the convenience of
inmates who desire to consult the
board; lavatories, toilets, barber
shop and bath rooms and a tele
phone exchange are located here.
The second floor of this structure is
to be utilized as quarters for the
employes, including their kitchen
and dining room and the north half
of this story is to be used as a par
lor and guests’ rooms. The third
floor will be the home of the female
inmates and quarters for the matron.
Passing out of the turnkey’s ball,
one enters the large central corri
dor, which opens into the two im
mense ceil houses, A and B, each
containing 512 cells, or 1024 in all.
This building, as well as every oth
er building in the inclosure, is built
'of reinforced concrete floors and
roof, and the walls of brick, making
them absolutely tire proof. The
cells, of which there are four tiers,
running the entire leugth of the
enormous building, are built of re
inforced concrete; they are six by
ten feet and eight feet ceilings, with
light, high corridors surrounding
them; large windows, occupying
quite a third of the outside w’alls of
the cell building, give a generous
light and these are supplemented by
a skylight; this building and every
cell in it is properly and thoroughly
ventilated in a sufficient manner and
each cell has electric light, toilet,
lavatory, and steel writing table,
cabinet and bed. This building
alone is well worth seeing; it is
modern in every way and is built to
conserve the health of the inmates.
Space has been left within the in
closure and contiguous to the large
cellhouse for additional buildings of
the same character which will,
when erected, house some three
hundred and sixty-five more in
mates, making the maximum capac
ity of the prison nearly fifteen hun
Passing on to the end of the cen
tral corridor, a wide vestibule is en
tered which leads, on the left, to the
immense dining hall for the prison
ers; this room is 100x142 feet with
twenty-five feet ceilings and its ca
pacity is twelve hundred; this room,
as are all the others, is finely lighted
and ventilated. To the right on the
north side of the corridor is the
chapel, of, more properly speaking,
the auditorium, for such it is in
truth. This room is a 100x90 feet
with 30 feet ceilings, will seat more
than a thousand on the ground floor,
built in circular form and with a
spectators’ gallery that will seat
200 or more; a large stage at the
north end of this fine room is 24x54
feet, where entertainments may
have all the accessories necessary
for their proper presentation.
The second and third floors, over
the central corridor, will be given
over to school rooms and lecture
Provision is also made on the
first floor for the library, office of
the famous Prison Mirror, deputy
warden’s office, waiting rooms, office
for Bertillon and finger print expert,
ten solitary cells and ten detention
(Continued on 3rd page )

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