Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ABC Wednesday - P is for Prison

P is for Prison............

old military prison across the river

First constructed in 1905 this prison sits at the end of Seavey Island in Portsmouth Harbor.

It is the old U.S. Navy Prison and it was used as such for over 66 years until it was closed down in 1974.

It has been nicknamed "The Castle" because of it's beautiful architecture, but from the stories told from within the walls, the similarities end there.

It housed over 86,000 military inmates during its time, with over 3000 inmates at one time in there during World War II.

The Marine guards took their job very seriously, and no inmate ever escaped from this prison.

The incentive for them to do a good job: If an inmate escaped, the guard on duty who was responsible would have to serve out the rest of the inmate's sentence.

Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but it seems to have worked.

And from what I know about this harbor - the Piscataqua River has one of the fastest moving tidal currents in North America, and trying to swim to the mainland from the island is not recommended if one wants to live.

You can't see it from this photo, but about 15 years ago, I was on a boat and was able to get a closer view of this building, and the disarray that has befallen it is sad to see. You can see if look to the right of the sailboat mast - the green shingles on the roof are beginning to come off.

And since this is still military owned land, I am not too sure about those boats that are dry docked in front of it.

It was a beautiful day in mid October when I took this photo, and I thought the turbulent looking clouds fit the subject perfectly.

This is the fourth round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.


  1. It's always a shame to see such beautiful buildings (even if they were prisons) fall into disrepair. Such a waste!

  2. HI!
    Great "P" post! That is a very impressing building! It does look like a castle! Have a great day!!


  3. Vey interesting choice and a great potted history,

  4. Most interesting post! With the sailboats in front it looks a bit like a hotel.

  5. Isn't it amazing the things in this country that we don't know exist until someone write about them in a blog post? Thanks for the photo and story.

  6. Hi Mara - I agree. Hopefully they will do something with it someday.

  7. Kind of like Alcatraz with strong currents. It is a beautiful building still, from a distance. My contribution this week is a pool. I invite you to come over and float around on my pool toy. - Margy

  8. Beautiful photography! It does appear there would be no escape from there. Interesting post!

  9. Terrific shot for the letter P. Love the clouds brooding over the prison.

  10. Hi thanks for showing this beautiful photo. The only thing I think a pity, is the fact that you have written "Photography by KML" in the middle of the photo. You can write it at the bottom of the picture. I hope you don't mind me saying so? Your photos are so beautiful!
    Thanks for your visit!

  11. Hi Rena - I agree - It does look like a hotel with the boats!

  12. Hi Waterrose - I feel the same way when I visit many blogs - including the wildlife you have in your front yard!

  13. Hi Margy - I will be right over to check yours out.

  14. Hi Reader Wil - I hear you on the watermark, and I don't like it there either. I sell my images, and if the watermark is on the middle instead of the bottom, then the theives can't just crop it off, they have to really work to remove it. It's sad that we have to think like this, but I have had them stolen too many times, and it isn't fair to the people who buy them.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  15. It is a beautiful looking building from the outside. And an interesting history. I've never heard of it before this. I guess a couple others got all the press.

  16. Great picture...the clouds are just as mesmerizing as the building! Very cool.


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