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What Happened At Michigan’s First Prison Left A Dark Stain On The State’s History

Michigan’s first state prison, constructed in Jackson in 1842, really served as the nucleus for the city as it spanned some 20 acres. Over the years, it relocated and at one point became the largest walled prison in the world, with some 6,000 inmates.

In 1952, in response to poor medical care, brutality from the guards and bad food, two maximum-security prisoners took hold of a guard and used his keys to release other inmates. A days-long riot ensued, resulting in nine guards being held hostage. The inmates fought for and won a list of 11 demands for reform.

Now redeveloped as the Armory Arts Complex, which is made up of apartments and an arts center, occupants of the space claim some prisoners and guards still haunt their former home.

Various ghost hunter groups have gone into the property to investigate paranormal activity. While searching through the tunnels used to transport prisoners to various work details, some say the faint sounds of rioting can still be heard. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!

Serena Maria Daniels
Serena Maria Daniels is an award-winning freelance journalist in Detroit, by way of Chicago, by way of the West Coast. She writes about Michigan for OIYS. Serena enjoys learning about language and culture and taking road trips with her beagle Ralph.