It’s been entirely too long since my last entry; I’m back!!
To my regret, we were on a hiatus from exploring, but we’re back at it! I have a few entries to catch up but I want to start with the abandoned York County prison.
The York prison was constructed in 1906 and replaced a prison that was built in 1854. From my research, there may have been additional buildings aside from this but this is what remains today.
The building sits aside railroad tracks amongst a small community of houses. It’s a well constructed, five story red brick building. It can be expected (since it’s a prison after all) that the windows have bars on them, and it’s surrounded by a fence with barbed wire on the top.
The building now stands with overgrown weeds and ivy running up the sides and back of the building.
Normally when we explore, we are concerned about neighbors or people driving by, but people were either 100% ignoring that we were taking photos of the outside or giving us friendly waves.
If you walk near the left side of the building (if you are facing it). There is a small hole in the fence and we went through the hole to find what was maybe an exit to a former court yard. Now the small fenced area is overgrown with weeds and a door that once allowed access is now welded shut.
We did not make it inside this building. However, once we made it home and watched a few YouTube videos we learned there is a hole in the fence toward the back of the building which leads to a 2×2 hole in the concrete which gains you access to the inside. Next time, we’ll make it in!
I do love adventures like this based on the history of the building.
After reading several articles, I’ve learned that the prison was accused of inhumane treatment of prisoners in the 1950s. Some of which was, racial segregation, overcrowding and putting prisoners in padded cells that should have been used for the criminally insane and feeding prisoners road kill brought in by the guards. Another accusation I’ve read was that there is supposedly a trap door inside that was used for hangings. What I find most interesting about this fact is that before 1990, Pennsylvania’s means of capital punishment was electrocution and was since 1913. If hangings we’re taking place in this prison, it could not have been legal. Pennsylvania’s means of punishment now is lethal injection and happens at one men’s facility and one women’s facility within the state.
Although I’m not sure if the prison is still privately owned, it was purchased by a couple with consideration in turning it into a privately run prison. Ideas were also thrown around of turning it into a bar, restaurant or Halloween type attraction.
The local York newspaper ran an article about the prison and the treasures that lie inside. I would check it out if I were you! There are several pieces of art drawn on the walls, most famously a portrait of Jimi Hendrix.
Should you visit the York County prison? Absolutely! Here are some tips and reasons why:
- Wear long pants; the weeds and pricker bushes are everywhere in the back and should you crawl through the hole opening you’ll be in your hands and knees.
- Bring a flashlight.
- Be careful of your surroundings.
- The history and architecture are worth it, even if you don’t want to go inside!
- As always, do not vandalize the property or be disrespectful.