Western Penitentiary (Allegheny Commons)

The original Western Penitentiary was built in the Allegheny Commons area which itself was made into a municipal park in the 1860s.  The prison was designed to look like a medieval fortress, was completed in 1825 and remained in the Commons until 1886 when it was demolished.  In 1882, a new prison was built along the Ohio River, where it remains to this day.

Some of the prisons famous guests include 118 confederate soldiers who were captured near Lisbon, Ohio in 1863.  Eight did not make it past the harsh winter that year.  The rest were later transferred in 1864. 

The Lawrenceville Historical Society has an excellent article with all of the soldiers names, ranks, and locations, along with some of the letters written by the men living in the prison.  It gives a great glimpse into that prison life.

Go to the Pittviewer and look at the 1835, 1855, 1872 and 1882 maps of this long forgotten site.