Indiana is Home to the Last Working Rotary Jail It’s a Museum Now, and You can Visit
Located just up the road from the Tri-State in Crawfordsville, Indiana is the last working rotary jail in the United States. While the rotary jail does work and does in fact, rotate.
Crawfordsville Indiana is home to the first rotary jail in the U.S.
The Rotary Jail Museum of Crawfordsville Indiana was the first rotary jail built of 18. It is currently one of three left-standing and is the only one that is still operational.
Here's what RotaryJailMuseum.org says about the jail:
The first of 18 rotary jails built, and 1 of only 3 left standing, our unique structure is the only rotary jail in existence that is still operational. We do rotate the mechanism regularly for tours.
Why a rotating jail?
This seems to be the question people first ask, okay the jail rotates, but why? it turns out it was made to be safer for the guards and made it virtually impossible for the inmates to escape. Instead of the guard walking to the specific cell of an inmate, they would just rotate the cells until the specific inmate they needed came to them. . This is seriously wild, right?
So how does it work? The historical sign in front of the jail states:
Circular cell block has sixteen wedge-shaped cells on a two-story turntable around a central shaft.
Catch the rotating jail in action:
Check out this super informational YouTube video all about Indiana's own rotary jail, and see it in action.
No longer a jail, but a museum you can visit!
The rotary jail was immobilized in the 1930s due to prisoner safety issues, but the jail itself was in operation until the 1970s. Some inmates would end up with broken, or even amputated limbs after getting them caught in the bars of the rotating jail.
Since the jail is no longer used as a jail, it makes a really cool museum. You can take tours of the rotary jail, and you just may get to see the rotating action!
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