Essex County Jail Annex / NJ


Originally constructed in 1862 to hold Confederate prisoners of war, the Essex County Jail Annex functioned as a state penitentiary for many years before eventually being replaced by a new facility to alleviate overcrowding.
The penitentiary was largely self-sufficient. As late as the 1970’s inmates still tended to apple and peach orchards on the grounds, and fields on the lower parts of the rolling grounds contained farmland. A piggery and chicken coop also were located at the jail, but these were eventually abandoned and torn down. The county took over the facility eventually and the Essex County Penitentiary became the Essex County Correction Center and housed mostly sentenced inmates. The jail eventually merged with the Essex County Jail in Newark in the early 1980s and was rechristened the Essex County Jail Annex, a name it would carry for the rest of its term.


The prison population changed during this time period. Suddenly more violent prisoners were housed on the grounds, many awaiting sentencing. The Essex County Jail Annex was filled with deplorable conditions. Buildings were falling apart and overcrowding was a massive issue. At its peak the jail housed more than 1,800 beds. Essex County finally finished construction of a new prison in Newark in 2003, and all county lockup services were transferred to this new address and the jail in Caldwell was closed.


Shortly thereafter talks began of selling the land and razing the old buildings in favor of town homes. After a few years of red tape and litigations the deal was inked and demolition began.


Source: Essex Mountain Sanatorium


The displayed photos were shot in 2010.

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