BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION: Crews excavating Ohio River bridge site find remains of 19th century prison

Some artifacts will be handed over to the Indiana State Museum; project is not expected to experience any delays

Bridges News Courier-Journal August 20, 2013
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Finally, some of the items left behind at Indiana’s first state prison have an escape route.


Crews excavating for the Ohio River bridge project in Jeffersonville, Ind., discovered remains of the jail cell, which handled prisoners over 200 years ago, along with other artifacts. The prison site was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but Federal Highway Administration and Indiana state preservation officials gave the OK for the Ohio River bridge project to proceed without delays.


Items found during the dig will be delivered to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis after they have been analyzed. The original prison had 10 cells and looked more like a modern-day hotel. It was dismantled in the mid-19th century.


“There were no windows, and the only light that got in was from the doors,” Clark County historian Jeanne Burke told the Courier-Journal. “The doors were strapped with iron and there was a 3-in. square hole in the door . . . and that’s all the light and air the cells got.”


Among the artifacts pulled from the site were a French gun flint dating from the mid-1700s, pearlware from the late 1700s and 19th century bottle fragments.



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