You’ll Never Guess The Purpose Of This Illinois Building That Looks Like A Medieval Fortress

If you ever find yourself driving through Carlinville, Illinois, you might stumble upon what looks like a medieval fortress. No, we promise this isn’t actually from the Middle Ages. It was built in 1869 and was the brainchild of E.E. Meyers. Meyers just really liked the Gothic Revival style, and it shows. All this place needs is a drawbridge and a moat. And dragons.

For being a jail, this place is actually really pretty hospitable. It is built as a “jailer’s residence.” What this means is that actually above the cell, there is an apartment for the jailer and his family. It is unclear whether they all ate prison food for supper or whether there was a kitchen to cook in. In any case, it does seem super considerate and nothing like jails today.

It is also interesting to note that the walls are fortified with cannonballs left over from the Civil War (yes, it’s an old building). They were just put into the cement. The idea here was to prevent prison breaks. And, other than one guy who escaped, no one got out in 119 years. No one knows exactly how the guy escaped, but it was no Shawshank Redemption story, as he was apprehended down the street a few blocks later.

For being a pretty famous building, there are not a lot of pictures floating around. But here are some pics to give you an idea of what it looks like.

Have you been here before? If you have, be sure to post pics on the Only in Illinois Facebook page!

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