Maine State Prison: 1824-2002 (Images of America Series)

Maine State Prison: 1824-2002 (Images of America Series)

by Jeffrey D. Merrill Sr.
     
 

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For 178 years, Maine State Prison peacefully coexisted with the town of Thomaston. In addition to its stately elms, the formidable brick facade overshadowed Main Street to the south and provided a stark contrast to the former sea captains' homes to the north. At the time of its closure in 2002, Maine State Prison was one of the oldest prisons still in use in the

Overview


For 178 years, Maine State Prison peacefully coexisted with the town of Thomaston. In addition to its stately elms, the formidable brick facade overshadowed Main Street to the south and provided a stark contrast to the former sea captains' homes to the north. At the time of its closure in 2002, Maine State Prison was one of the oldest prisons still in use in the country. The decision to move from the antiquated prison to a state-of-the-art facility in nearby Warren was met with mixed emotions and even sadness. On February 12, 2002, round-the-clock operations moved Maine's most violent and dangerous prisoners, leaving behind unlocked doors and darkened cells. By June of that year, the old prison was demolished and buried in the ancient abandoned limestone quarry, although its memory continues to live on in the minds of those who knew it firsthand.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: New book examines Maine State Prison history

Author: Amy Lea

Publisher: The Herald Gazette

Date: 4/30/09

For nearly two centuries, the Maine State Prison stood as a Main Street landmark -- a sure sign to out-of-towner's that they had arrived in the town of Thomaston.

Though a grassy field and a corner of the old building are all that remain on the former site (closed and demolished in 2002) there are still plenty of stories to tell.

The month of May will mark the release of a new book produced by Arcadia Publishing titled "Maine State Prison: 1824-2002." Thanks to contributions from Thomaston officials, community members, ex-prison guards and current prison staff, the completed memorial provides a pictorial history of the 178-year-old brick façade and offers many previously untold stories of life inside the prison walls.

The project was spearheaded by Maine State Prison Warden Jeffrey D. Merrill Sr., who was the last warden of the old prison and also serves as the current warden at the new facility in Warren.

Merrill said many people have reminisced about the former site since it closed, some telling stories while others inquired about the history of the Maine State Prison. With the combined interest and an offer from Arcadia Publishing to create a book about the prison's history, a planning committee was formed last May to compile information and photos.

Copies of "Maine State Prison: 1824-2002" will be available May 11 at the prison showroom on Main Street in Thomaston for $21.99. The book will also be available through local retailers and online bookstores, including Arcadia Publishing at arcadiapublishing.com.

After reviewing the advanced copy of the new book, Merrill said he is pleased with the outcome. "What we wanted to do is preserve history of the Maine State Prison and I think we did that," Merrill said. "It gives people a lot of information as what may have transpired over the last 175 years."

Merrill said condensing the book down to 127 pages was one of the toughest tasks involved with the project.

"We had thousands of photos to sort through. There are still a lot of untold stories and major events we couldn't capture," said Merrill, citing the lockdown of 1980." I think we probably could write three of these books."

Merrill said there has been quite a lot of interest since people have become aware that the book is coming out. He said this will be a good opportunity for taxpayers to have more information on what they supported for many years.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Maine State Prison Employees' Benefit Fund, which benefits charitable causes related to employees.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738562445
Publisher:
Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
05/06/2009
Series:
Images of America Series
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
1,328,357
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author


Jeffrey D. Merrill Sr., the last warden of the old prison, currently serves as warden at the new facility in Warren. He produced Maine State Prison: 1824-2002 with photographs from the site's archives, as well as research assistance from current and former employees, town residents, the Town of Thomaston, and the Thomaston Historical Society.

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