Built in 1866, this Gothic Revival fortress, the first penal institution in West Virginia, was established to help remove the burden of housing felons from county jails. Its design allowed inmates to have daytime interaction while being separated at night. Much of the prison was built by inmates, who were required to work nine hours per day with Sundays off. Both male and female inmates were held at the state prison until 1947 when a women’s facility was opened in Pence Springs, West Virginia. Many updates and expansions were made through the years until the prison was closed in 1995. The Moundsville Economic Development Council has opened former penitentiary for public tours and “ghost tours.”
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