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Indiana Historical Bureau

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Indiana State PrisonIndiana State Prison

Location: 1400 block, South Clark Blvd., Clarksville (Clark County, Indiana)

Installed: 2005 Indiana Historical Bureau and Clarksville Historical Society

ID# : 10.2006.1

Text

Side one:

First state prison authorized January 9, 1821, opened October 1822 on lower Market Street in Jeffersonville; prisoners were confined to hard labor. Prisoners were moved to new state prison, opened here in Clarksville October 1847. Warden was elected by Indiana General Assembly. Inmates worked in shops set up by manufacturing companies on the grounds.

Side two:

In 1873, female inmates were transferred to Indiana Reformatory for Women and Girls in Indianapolis. In 1897, prison became Indiana Reformatory for men 16-30 years old; males over 30 sent to Michigan City prison. In 1918, fire swept through Reformatory. State sold land and buildings to Colgate Company 1921. Some original buildings still remain.

Keywords

Government Institutions, Buildings and Architecture, Women

Annotated Text

First state prison authorized January 9, 1821;(1) it opened October 1822(2) on lower Market Street in Jeffersonville.(3) Prisoners were moved to new state prison opened here October 1847(4) within 1783 Town of Clarksville grant boundaries.(5) Warden was elected by Indiana General Assembly.(6) Inmates worked in shops set up by manufacturing companies on the grounds.(7)

In 1873, female inmates were transferred to Indiana Reformatory for Women and Girls in Indianapolis.(8) In 1897, prison became Indiana Reformatory for men 16-30 years old;(9) males over 30 sent to Michigan City prison.(10) In 1918, fire swept through Reformatory.(11) State sold land and buildings to Colgate Company 1921.(12) Some original buildings still remain.(13)

Notes:

1. Laws of Indiana, 1820-1821, pp. 24-29.

2. Alan January, State Archivist, to Historical Bureau, e-mail, October 28, 2004.

3. "First Warden Tells of His Election, " Jeffersonville Evening News, December 23, 1901. Prisoners were often confined to hard labor. Laws of Indiana, 1820-1821, p. 26."Report of the Visiter to the State Prison, October 30th, 1840, " Report of the State Prison, 1845-1856, p. 136.

4. Second Annual Report of the Warden of the Indiana State Prison, to the General Assembly, December, 1847 (Indianapolis, 1847), p. 39.

5.The law establishing the new prison specified that it was to be outside the town limits of Jeffersonville. Laws of Indiana, 1845-1846, p. 36. A 1781 act of the Virginia General Assembly provided a 150, 000 acre land grant to Colonel George Rogers Clark and his men on the northwest side of the Ohio River. A 1783 act established the process for locating and surveying that land "after laying out one thousand acres at the most convenient place therein for a town." William Henry English, Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark (Indianapolis and Kansas, 1896), 826-27. The town was platted in 1784 at the southwest corner of the 1, 000-acre grant and named Clarksville. The Indiana State Archives has the minute book of the Board of Trustees of the Town of Clarksville, in which is included the 1784 plan of the town. That plan is included on the Indiana Historical Bureau Web site as part of the George Rogers Clark Exhibit. See also, John D. Barnhart and Dorothy L. Riker, Indiana to 1816: The Colonial Period (Indianapolis, 1971), 254.

6. Laws of Indiana, 1845-1846, p. 36.

7. Laws of Indiana, 1846, p. 36. Sanborn Insurance Map, Jeffersonville, 1886.

8"History of the Penal System, " Indiana Reformatory: Pendleton, Indiana (Pendleton, 1960), p. 3. Laws of Indiana, 1869, pp. 61-72.

9. Laws of Indiana, 1897, pp. 69-77, "General Superintendent's Report, " November 1, 1898, " First Biennial Report of the Board of Managers of the Indiana Reformatory, 1896-1898, p. 13.

10. Laws of Indiana, 1859, p. 135, Laws of Indiana, 1897, pp. 69-77, Jeffersonville Evening News, April 12, 1897.

11. Jeffersonville Evening News, February 6, 1918.

12. Jeffersonville Evening News, April 20, 1921.

13. "Colgate-Palmolive Historic District, " Clark County Interim Report (Indianapolis, 1988), 93.