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 - Old Essex County Prison
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The Old Essex County Prison, in Newark, NJ, was originally built in 1837 and closed in 1970 when a new jail was completed. As the oldest building in the county and one of architect John Haviland's finer works (he also designed Harrisburg State Hospital and Eastern State Penitentiary), the jail was added in 1991 to the historic register. Demolition by neglect has ruined much of the building, however, and this is perhaps most evident in this cell block, which lacks exterior walls and has sunken into the ground a little over half a floor. Now the remaining structure is a haven for the homeless. In all of the buildings I have entered, I have never seen so many squatters milling about or so much evidence of drug use. Bloody syringes and other paraphernalia littered many of the cell blocks. One wonders if it would have been a more hospitable environment when it was active. At least it would have been heated and there would have been food provided to the residents. Photograph taken in 2011.
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Photograph of the Essex County Jail in New Jersey by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America. If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the book "Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences," which you can order signed copies of here. It's also available (unsigned) through Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Powells/Indiebound/Booksamillion. You may also be interested in my new book, Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe.


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