Old Union County Jail
Union, South Carolina
The Union County Jail, attributed to Robert Mills, is a two-storied, Palladian style structure of granite ashlar construction built in 1823. Mills’ work is characterized by the innovative technical aspects he employed in his designs for government structures. In prison design, he recommended that there be no basement dungeons due to their unhealthy nature and also because Mills felt that most breakouts occurred as a result of tunneling to the outside from a basement area. He also recommended that a caretaker’s apartment be placed to overlook the prison, an idea seen in the sheriff’s apartment at the Union Jail.
Mills was interested in providing decent living conditions for prisoners. Buildings were to be made as fireproof as possible to insure prisoner safety. In the Union Jail, cells were to be one-roomed and were arranged to provide for adequate ventilation.
The exterior of the jail has received two additions since 1900 and the interior has undergone extensive alteration. Listed in the National Register August 30, 1974.
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