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Rutland prison camps

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this event will run ALL DAY LONG until atleast 9-10 at night someone will be there

From 1903 to 1933, the State of Massachusetts ran a hospital and farm for prisoners with tuberculosis in the westerly part of Rutland. The prisoners operated a large farm and many were cured with the fresh air and healthy foods. The 900 acre tract of land known as the Prison Camp area is bounded by Rte 122 in Rutland, Oakham and Barre, the Ware and Burnshirt Rivers and Intervale Road, Charnock Road and Rte 122A in Rutland. The idea of an industrial camp for prisoners originated in the early 1900’s with the Prison Commissioners. Rutland was known for its healthy environment since the first Sanatorium in Massachusetts for tuberculosis was already located here. Prisoners were from prisons in Charlestown, Deer Island, Norfolk and some from Summer Street jail in Worcester. Due to the crowded conditions, where they were confined, and these prisoners came to Rutland with tuberculosis, emaciated, weak and in need of nurturing. Some of them were lifers, some short time prisoners convicted of minor crimes. Those who were able hacked through the thick growth and cleared 150 acres, transforming them into a thriving farm. A 100 bed hospital was built and operated largely by inmates, even some of the doctors were prisoners. William Turner was the veteran superintendent who was very innovative in his treatment of approximately 100 prisoners. He treated them as mean and human beings. There were no striped prison uniforms and he should personal interest and kindness toward the prisoners. Menus showed chicken pie, eggs, braised beef, corn chowder, lamb stew and many healthy, delectable dishes. The daily was an important project at the Prison Camp. 60 head of pure bred Holsteins insured a high grade of milk and netted an annual profit of $5,000 in the Worcester market. The poultry enterprise produced 1800 eggs daily and earned the institution $12,000 annually. 100 goats were purchased and served as lawn mowers, keeping the grass timed. The Superintendent had a very special approach to this camp. The men were given the freedom to farm, hay, milk, and tend the animals. They became healthy individuals with his insistence on proper nutrition. He instilled in them a sense of their dignity and overall worth. In 1934, the State took over the West Rutland section of town, buying up the farms, camps and businesses to protect the watershed of the Quabbin Reservoir. Today, all that is visible are the remains of the vegetable cellar, a building known as the Stone House used infrequently for solitary confinement, the hospital and dairy barn foundations as nature is reclaiming the area with vegetative growth. A cemetery area may be seen near Goose Hill cemetery on Charnock Hill Road. This area contains the remains of 59 prisoners who had died at the camp.

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  • Patrick C. S.
    Event Host
  • A former member
  • A former member

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