Walls crumbling at historic Jefferson City prison

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Chunks of limestone are crumbling off the high walls surrounding the nation's oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi River.

A city street remained closed Monday to keep vehicles -- especially large delivery trucks -- from causing extra vibrations that could shake more stones loose at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.

"We've lost some of the inner facing," said Dave Dormire, superintendent of the maximum-security men's prison formerly known as the state penitentiary. "And we've still got some loose rock that might fall."

Parts of the outer stone wall were built between 1836 and 1915. Some of the 2,000 inmates are housed in a unit built in 1868.

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