Aug 28, 2014
09:14 AM
History

1812 Litchfield Jail Sold to a Developer; Bank Shared a Common Wall

1812 Litchfield Jail Sold to a Developer; Bank Shared a Common Wall

Litchfield County Times

The former jail in Litchfield.

The Litchfield County Times is reporting that the historic former jail in Litchfield—built to house prisoners in the War of 1812 and the only jail in the country that shared a common wall with a bank—has finally been sold, after years of sitting vacant and the town passing more than once on its right to have first dibs on buying the state-owned property as the host community.

Local developer Russell Barton purchased the property from the state Wednesday for $130,000, according to the state Department of Administrative Services, the County Times said, quoting First Selectman Leo Paul as saying, “I’m very pleased. Mr. Barton, I think, is going to develop that piece of property in a very good way. I think it’ll be a certain asset for the town of Litchfield going forward.”

According to the post on Historic Buildings of Connecticut, "The old Litchfield County Jail, at 7 North Street in Litchfield, built in 1812, is the oldest public building in town and one of the oldest penal facilities in the state. It also has the distinction, unique in the nation, of sharing for many years a wall with the adjacent bank."

Historic Buildings chronicles how the jail closed in 1992—after “a jail break in which a guard was stabbed and a New York man taken hostage,” according to a 1994 New York Times article, the County Times notes—and how it "reopened the following year as McAuliffe Manor, a rehabilitation center for women."

That facility closed in 2010, at which time the state began efforts to market and sell the historic property, which sits on a prominent site across from the town green at the foot of posh North Street, lined by Colonial and post-Colonial manses, including the former property of Benjamin Tallmadge, the leader of George Washington's Revolutionary War spy ring—the subject of the AMC network show "TURN".

The current use of the property is considered a “pre-existing non-conforming jailhouse” in a business historic district, according to the zoning office, the County Times reports, saying Barton would have to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and apply for a special exception change of use permit for a new use.

Barton purchased White Ridge Farm, also in Litchfield in 2012, according to Litchfield.bz and also owns Bantam River Corporate Park and other real estate, the County Times notes.

 

1812 Litchfield Jail Sold to a Developer; Bank Shared a Common Wall

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