Tag Archives: jail

Views Of The Charleston Jail

Most of these photographs are from the 3rd floor of the Charleston jail. This was where the prisoners considered dangerous were housed.

Views Of The Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

Guards did not enter the area without first checking through peep holes in the first doors. Of course gates of bars were right behind any solid doors.

Views Of The Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail – click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

There were also special cell areas where prisoners were disciplined.

Views Of The Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail – click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

And last here is the far end of the 3rd floor, top of the stairs.

Views Of The Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Views Of The Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

At some point this was also used as an asylum. It was the only one in Charleston.

For more information click this link.

The Waiting Room, Old Charleston Jail

A dark and bizarre room within the jail. I called it the ‘Waiting Room’.

A jail room was set aside for a condemned prisoner. A number of days before the execution he was moved here.

The Waiting Room, Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
The Waiting Room, Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

Now it gets weird (my opinion). A few days later the executioner was locked in the jail room also.

And then… a few days later a minister was locked in the same room.

Prisoner, executioner, and minister waited here until the final day.

The Waiting Room, Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
The Waiting Room, Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

 

Solitary Confinement

It was a different type of solitary when this was a jail.

Solitary Confinement - click to enlarge
Solitary Confinement – click to enlarge

Yes, you were inside a dark room. There could be 12 others in the same dark room. Each standing inside their own rock box, that leaned against the wall. Not standing, not lying down.

Solitary Confinement - click to enlarge
Solitary Confinement – click to enlarge

Solitary was behind this door.

 

Outside The Old Charleston Jail

A visit, and lucky private tour, was educational and enlightening. You could be sent here for murder, or petty crime. Either way survival was questionable.

Outside The Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

The jail was built in 1802 on land set aside for public use. Over time some changes were made, a tower was removed due to the 1886 earthquake. Most of the inside structure remains as it was…and that was most interesting.

Outside The Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

In time a hospital, poor house, workhouse for runaway slaves, and this Jail was built on the square. The jail housed petty thieves, famous murderers, and the last pirates sailing the coast here to the Caribbean. Civil war prisoners were also kept here.

Outside The Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

Since Charleston did not have an asylum the second floor was used at times.  Any African descent seamen coming into the port had to stay here until the ship left. Women and children were kept in the same cells as male inmates. In general this entire place was pretty horrible.

Outside The Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

The courtyard, like all old prisons, held the gallows. Not the ones we have seen in the movies, but it had one. No details are needed here.

Outside The Old Charleston Jail - click to enlarge
Outside The Old Charleston Jail – click to enlarge

Still owned by the City of Charleston it is leased to a touring company that has exclusive touring rights. They invested $ 1 million for some restoration. Ghost tours, and TV shows have used this property.

Bulldog Tours will provide a guide to walk you around, and in, the jail.

 

At The Top Of The Stairs

At The Top Of The Stairs - click to enlarge
At The Top Of The Stairs – click to enlarge

Charleston, South Carolina city jail. 1802 thru 1939.

At The Top Of The Stairs - click to enlarge
At The Top Of The Stairs – click to enlarge

It also served as the city asylum.

At The Top Of The Stairs - click to enlarge
At The Top Of The Stairs – click to enlarge

The last of the 18th century pirates were held and executed here.

At The Top Of The Stairs - click to enlarge
At The Top Of The Stairs – click to enlarge

“If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me, and I’ll carry it!” ; Lavinia Fisher on the gallows at the Charleston jail.