Gaol Tyme

Old Newburyport Jail Postcard front
Postcard: CrazyasaCoolFox
This week's Sepia Saturday prompt has two posters about convicts. Well this is my take on that. I have in my collection the old jail in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It's still standing and still has the sharp barbed spikes on the granite walls.

Built in 1823, the old place was discontinued as a jail sometime in the mid 20th century. An infamous local mayor even spent time there running the city from his cell. I can't imagine a more miserable place to be incarcerated as the walls are solid granite blocks with bars in open windows.

Supposedly the oldest known photograph, taken in 1839, two months after the daguerreotype was introduced to the world, is of this jail

The place is now in the hands of a condominium association that converted the property into separate units.
Old Newburyport Jail postcard rear
Click to magnify
I usually transpose the message here so it's a bit more readable for you all. This is difficult for even me to decipher. The author even admits their penmanship isn't very good. They state at the top, "hope you can read this." Good luck! 
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Peter said…
I just wonder why anyone would buy a postcard of a jail and sent it to friends or relatives. I mean, if you are on the receiving end, is such a card a reason to consider a visit to Newburyport? Or to think that N. is such a nice place? I don't think so but maybe that's why this is a very special card. Thanks for sharing!
Postcardy said…
I think I could read most of it except for the part under the postmark:
Aunt Mable: Walter(?) has been sick so can't come over this week. he is at _ _ though(?),come over any day next week but Wednesday, I have got to go to Haverhill that day to get my coat(?) fitted. Hope to see you before long. I remain _
Wendy said…
Isn't it amusing that the jail is now condos? I like seeing old buildings being updated and put to good use, but I'm not sure I'd really want to live there. I think Postcardy has your card figured out - that's how I read it too.
New follower. I was wondering, like Peter, why one would want to buy a postcard of a prison. Then it came to me: you could send it to someone you didn't like, and write on the back "Wish you were here!"
Alan Burnett said…
I always enjoy your posts and feel like I am now quite familiar with your little corner of the world via all the pictures and postcards over the years.
DougVernX said…
Thank you so much everyone for all your wonderful comments. Yes it sure is strange to have a postcard of a prison, let alone send one to someone! Thanks Postcardy for the interpretation. You certainly are better at this than I. I'm sure you have a lot more practice. :)
Bob Scotney said…
Perhaps Walter was connected to the jail in some way. Did people collect postcards back in 1912 and have a series of cards showing jails?
Christine H. said…
I was thinking it looked like a pretty nice place to spend prison time, but I'll take your word for it. I guess prison postcards make as much sense as cemetery postcards.
Unknown said…
I liked Michael's, above, comment. But see, no matter the reason it was sent, what a great collectable you have.
I don't believe I have any cards of jails, but it would be an odd one to receive in the mail, especially if the message said, "Wish you were here!"
Quite an interesting postcard. The jail looks so much like a house. I find that curious.
Interesting that they turned the jail into condos. Wonder what the rooms look like. Do they have bars on the windows?
DougVernX said…
I don't know if the have bars on the windows at this jail. There are two other converted jails that I know of. One in Boston was converted to an exclusive hotel ironically called the "Liberty Hotel" where you can stay in a suite made of old jail cells, and one here in Salem now a restaurant and condominium. I believe you can choose to dine in one of the old cells. The restaurant's name? "The Great Escape!" haha Thanks for all your nice comments and support! :)

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