Fearsome Fortress

The imposing District Jail looms over Magazine Street in downtown #Charleston  with its fortress-like crenelations that make for a very forbidding facade. The jail first opened in 1802 as a much smaller structure, and was extensively remodeled in the 1850’s to stand four stories high as a stark example of punishments that was harsh in those days, and made to look like an imposing castle. It was severely damaged by the  1886 earthquake, and restored at the current height of three stories. Among the famous and infamous held here were murderer Lavinia Fisher, hanged in 1822 and who supposedly still haunts the jail today; Denmark Vesey, whose attempted slave uprising also earned him a place  on the gallows; as well as hundreds of Federal soldiers, some brought up from Andersonville prison when Sherman marched through Georgia, who were briefly kept here as captives during the Civil War. The building was never used as a city jail, which is commonly told to visitors, but as a district and then county jail, and closed in 1939. <img.src=”Charleston Landmarks” alt=”Old District Jail

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