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The Old Essex County Jail Complex
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This article has been viewed 35473 times in the last 5 years
Violet: 21st May 2009 - 03:37 GMT
These are beautifully haunting photos. Thank you so much for posting them here.
Sanzay: 21st May 2009 - 04:15 GMT
Victoria: 21st May 2009 - 08:05 GMT
Wow these are beautiful. Is it actually that easy to enter or is it difficult?
adam: 21st May 2009 - 18:39 GMT
great photos dude.. really gettin out there on your lunchbreaks huh? :)
Sean Hopkins: 21st May 2009 - 19:30 GMT
Instantaneously my favorite post of yours Peter. AWESOME. Now I'm itchin' to get out there!!
Peter: 21st May 2009 - 20:39 GMT
a: hahaha, not quite a lunch-time spot... i came out of there covered with dust and smelling like a dump, but definitely an on-the-way-home adventure ;)
s: thanks man... yeah, id like to go back, too. i could only get so far into it before the sky got overcast and it got dark inside... only got to see about 25% of the place and snap some quick-n-dirty photos. plus, not the sort of place where you want to explore the deepest crannies (think the basement dungeons) alone.
ntatap: 21st May 2009 - 21:07 GMT
Peter, great post!!! do you know how long ago this place was shut down?
Peter: 21st May 2009 - 21:53 GMT
1970, when the new essex county jail was completed. oddly, this jail has been on the national register of historic places since 1991, but nothing at all is being done aside from letting it slowly crumble and be reclaimed by nature (until it falls completely and can be razed for something undoubtedly more profitable, if the adjacent condos and student-housing is any indication).
Alito: 22nd May 2009 - 06:49 GMT
I heard that Frank Sinatra was once held captive in this jail for a petty offense.
Marielos : 17th Jul 2009 - 01:12 GMT
Dear Peter! This is one of the most facinating sites that I have found. What motivated you to go in and take these amazing pictures.
Peter: 17th Jul 2009 - 20:54 GMT
i walked past it and thought it looked cool...? i like dystopic decay :)
Marielos : 18th Jul 2009 - 15:27 GMT
Peter: I am someone who has worked in Newark (University Heights) for the past 8 years. I am a nurse by training but for a long time has been in love with this site. I see so much potential. I have been meeting with the residents of University Heights and are planning to undertake some efforts to save this site. I have been lucky that my mother is a visionary like myself and she already has contacted some of her friends who are architects and have worked in prison design. I am also going to have a meeting with Dr. Clement Price who is a Newark resident and a historian. I am also in plans to speak with a professor at NJIT school of architecture. Thank you for your pictures, they will make part of history.
anon (18.104.22.168): 23rd Jul 2009 - 15:52 GMT
Thanks so much for posting, not sure how much longer this will be here. Six months ago there were a bobcat in the front administrative building. Great photos, thanks for sharing
anon (22.214.171.124.res-cmts.sm.ptd.net): 25th Jul 2009 - 03:38 GMT
Did Shawn hit you up for a few bucks after rambling on and giggling?
Nita: 30th Aug 2009 - 22:28 GMT
Thank you for letting everyone know that there's more to Newark than just the shooting and the gangs.There are a lot of us out here that are so unaware of the history of Newark. The cty of Newark is a historical venue in itself. We need more folks such as yourself to inform us of this great city's past.I don't know what led me to this site but I'm glad that I visited it. Thank you again.
Buzzy: 10th Sep 2009 - 01:42 GMT
Great Pix. You done a super job getting them.
Blanca: 11th Nov 2009 - 19:03 GMT
Here's an interesting article which I think is about this jail:
Steve: 26th Nov 2009 - 07:10 GMT
I was lucky enough to actually see the old jail upclose it is incrdible!!!
southward973: 6th Feb 2010 - 09:42 GMT
Great pictures of the old jail! I used to passs it daily newark has a great history! I also heard that malcom x was once locked up there
Neal: 22nd Feb 2010 - 13:12 GMT
Nice photos, I'm into photographing old buildings and my sister lives in that are (I'm in Rhode Island), I'm going to try to go here on my next visit.
CartLegger: 23rd Feb 2010 - 01:51 GMT
ummmm...there are lots better abandoned places to go, man. this place is creepy AND people live here. They dont take kindly to visitors. There are lots more places to explore In RI. take your risks closer to home.
one: 24th Feb 2010 - 21:44 GMT
one aka ice i was therr in 2003 how did it get so like that i did 14months in sat 5 cell block 23 ,, 1998 in and out of this jail ....this place was run by us inmate,,, this place is hunted
anon (c-68-38-16-36.hsd1.nj.comcast.net): 7th May 2010 - 05:43 GMT
Hey where exactly is this building located?
Zaki Rizvi: 27th May 2010 - 07:32 GMT
Christopher: 27th May 2010 - 14:51 GMT
Thanks for the link Zaki! Yeah, this brings back memories...We lived in Redwood Hall, just across the street from this site. A professor took a group of architecture students to the jail, we squeezed right through a chained gate. We didn't explore very deeply, since we were there to take in and appreciate the buildings. I was in there several more times while at NJIT. I spent one long evening salvaging electronic parts from joker-poker machines that were in a big cage. I still have "play credit" and "discard" buttons that operate garage doors in our home. Those machines must have been evidence confiscated from a gambling den. There was one room that hed been cleaned up and nicely furnished by a squatter, but we never met 'em. evidence of drug use was everywhere. I'm surprized that this place wasn't bulldozed already. Even back in '92, this place was falling apart. I can't imagine this place being saved. It's more old than historic. Good times.
Tom: 1st Jun 2010 - 22:35 GMT
Funny seeing the jail in the day light... Chris always used to like going in there at night and with the crack addicts in there it got pretty interesting.
richard abney: 15th Jul 2010 - 00:58 GMT
very awsome buldin it looks creepy i saw the episode when taps wss thier very creepy.it looks lie it would be a fun place to investagate.
Bill: 23rd Jul 2010 - 02:24 GMT
Excellent pictures of this historic place. Hope that these pics help save some of the original John Haviland buildings and perhaps one wing. Not the whole site though. An aerial diagram / footprint of the complex would be great to understand the evolution. Many thanks.
leon a. amos: 9th Sep 2010 - 18:16 GMT
i was there before 1970 call me 347-416 7169 tell u what u need to know
katie: 23rd Oct 2010 - 01:12 GMT
if any one know the address of this place. i would like to know. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
mblindsay: 29th Oct 2010 - 21:59 GMT
Hi Peter. I actually did my undergraduate thesis in architecture on this building a few years ago. An adaptive reuse project reprogramming and designing new spaces around parts of the existing structure. Pretty interesting place. I visited twice and on one occasion ran across Michael, undoubtedly in a similar situation to Shaun. I have some more information -- historical documents, articles, and a drawings that I made with attempted accuracy -- if you're interested. Let me know. email@example.com
phaviland908: 5th Nov 2010 - 08:56 GMT
hi peter i really like the pic's im from louisiana. and its actually my great ancesters that was the architect of that prison john haviland. i wish before its no longer there i get to see it. and i would love for my kids to see it cause its part of there history and minds. so thanks peter on such s beautiful job.
Mrs. Ali Hub : 16th Dec 2010 - 19:40 GMT
Born and raised in Newark, NJ...The first time I saw this building I didn't know what it was until my husband told me. We weren't as optimistic of entering in the space but we did drive around the outer perimeter & he tried to bring me back into history as much as possible by describing what the inside beneath all of the trees and debris was like. Being a Newarker I appreciate the additional history lesson as this really brings all that my husband explained to life in picture form. Thank you again.
Laurie: 1st Feb 2011 - 22:50 GMT
My dad worked at the old jail until it was closed and then at the current jail. He always said the layout of the old jail was superior as an officer could see better and monitor the inmates more efficiently. Thank you for posting this bit of family history. It really is a shame that no one is trying to preserve this site.
Rachael: 17th Mar 2011 - 12:04 GMT
is it true that a man set himself on fire while he was an inmate in this jail.?
Matt: 26th Mar 2011 - 23:39 GMT
Wow. Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures. That seems like such an interesting adventure.
Rob: 31st Mar 2011 - 20:46 GMT
I work in that area and pass by the place all the time, but you would never know what's inside. Pretty cool, nice pictures. I'd like to see them save the place for historic reasons.
Rev. Oz: 28th Sep 2011 - 07:50 GMT
I been thru A LOT of these kind of places as a hobby over the last 20 years, and I will tell you that I have never been in a creepier place,. As the earlier writer stated, MANY people live their or use the buildings (and the catacombs beneath) to shoot up, smoke crack and theres even whores working out of there. And the lie motionless under the garbage and blankets inside the cells till your literally 2 feet from them. It is a very dangerous place. PLUS if the NJIT Security Pricks catch you in there, YOU WILL be going to jail, I promise. Urban exploration is cool, but this is a super dangerous, WELL INHABITED place. You feel like your being watched at all times...cause you are. Enter at your own risk. And I'm serious about the rent-a cops. CHEERS
David Stroebel: 30th Nov 2011 - 17:37 GMT
Seeking old immate records from this prison for a Thomas Hauser when entered here in 1890. Would appreciate any assistance in locating them. I have not contacted any agency as of yet to inquire. Would like to know why my relative was imprisoned.
Bobby g: 11th Jan 2012 - 07:11 GMT
Ive been their at night..I'm an experienced urben explorer and it is an extremely creepy and dangerous visit... As I approached the rear of the building I Saw a man off to the distance and another figure in a window... I suggest if you are going to visit go souring the day nd face legal issues...better then being killed over a doller bill by a junkie bc ur body will neer be recovered
BEAR: 19th Feb 2012 - 16:04 GMT
yo this is awesome my man..all these years of living on that crummy city n I never knew it existed lolol
HatePain666: 25th Jun 2012 - 16:25 GMT
Did you see 'REVS' chain in there? Probably not, because I snatched it HA HA HA!!!!!
anon (ool-44c0c5c2.dyn.optonline.net): 24th Jul 2012 - 18:42 GMT
Please would you give us permission to publish two or three pictures in an article on this subject, in a Hispanic newspaper. I appreciate your attention to this request. Thank you very much.
Danni: 8th Apr 2013 - 17:40 GMT
What's interesting is that I live about 2 blocks away from this place and in the 18 years that I've lived in Newark, I never knew what the hell that was. It's great to know know that I've been living not too far from the old county jail. Hey, you learn something new everyday. :)
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