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“Captivating American Ingenuity, circa 1893”

Rotary Jail Museum and Tannenbaum Cultural Center
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Reviewed November 4, 2013

Sometimes . . . having an automobile break down in rural Indiana isn't always a bad thing.

Killing (our theme) time for two days I tried to eake out the best this city had to offer. Gosh - the Rotary Jail. . Rotarians who miss a meeting? I thought not. Open on Wed thru Sat, I was anxious to find out; What could this marvelous Victorian brick building featuring gingerbread dormers and soffits hold. Prisoners, it turns out.

Four (4) dollars for admission included a docent led overview of the jailers responsibilities and quarters. I chose to skip part one and go directly to jail. There the lovely KATHY MALONE, all five feet of her demonstrated the knack of physically torking a set very manly gears with a crowbar-like device.

Opening the jail's inner door one views a bird cage like contraption with 12 double decker jail cells... think a two layer cake - 6 pieces. The keeper-of-persons cranks the entire set of cells in a circle until the prisoner selected to tell-it-to-the-judge broaches the exit port and is permitted to exit (or reverse, enter) his cell.

The entire process is not just a jail, but the culmination of what America was thinking at the time of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893,100 miles to the north.. American steel, perfect red bricks, avant guarde architecture incorporating the future's penal management techniques - or so they envisioned. ALL in one building.

My Guide slipped me not only into a cell for a "feel" of what it could have been like but to appreciate that the incarcerated possibly had the opportunity to peer out six windows on a busy rotating weekday. Field corn, no doubt the scene most viewed. For the prurient - among us, yes the women were segregated in a single cell out of the wheel as were the truly bad actors, solitary for them. All aspects of toilet action are covered for your four bucks. TMI.

Don't forget to inquire about the two hangings conducted here, No spoiler alert needed.

Noteworthy: Ms. Malone (who wondered if her name would be included in my review) asked if I wanted to turn the rotary cells. I, @ six feet, attempted and failed. She displayed her biceps - developed over the past 4 years - as good as the trip off the Interstate.

Saying more: Free parking on the grounds or across the street - easy. The structure needs our help - it was saved from the wrecking ball - by days -thru a generous grant from a local philanthropist.

Leave your car where it is and walk kitty corner ~ one block to the court house, if not for the Civil War statue then just to view the fantastic WALNUT trim around the doors on the first floor. Other floors devoid of workman's pride or they just ran out of money.

Depart the court house and walk - again - Southwest,across the street to the Mom and Pop restaurant featuring 1960 prices for really good fare. Meatloaf, tell 'em I sent you.

1  Thank volvo57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 9, 2015 via mobile
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Thank ClaudineGimbergh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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