The Jim Thorpe Jail House was built in 1871 during turbulent times between miners in the area, and the companies they worked for. Jim Thorpe’s 72 room jail house would play a grim setting for one of the most unjust trials of its time.
The jail was designed by Edward Haviland, the son of John Haviland who was the architect for the world’s first penitentiary - Philadelphia’s legendary Eastern State Penitentiary. So certainly, this prison was no country club. With its dungeon like confinement cells, extraordinary thick stone walls, and massively large 1,000 pound doors. Unlike other jails, the warden lived within the facility with his family, in a house like area located towards the front of the building.
It was in 1877 when the jail would be in the center of chaos. Four men said to be Molly Maguire’s were accused of murder and hung together in gallows constructed in the center hall. In the following years, three more were accused, and also hung. All of these men swore their innocence, and no real proof of their crimes was ever discovered.
It was during these years that one of the accused men, on the day of his execution, rubbed his hand in the dirt of the cell ground then placed it on the wall of cell #17, leaving a hand print he claimed would never be erased as a symbol of his innocence. The print still remains to this day, even after attempts to wash, paint over and cut away the area of wall with the mark. It has even been tested and analyzed by scientists whose results came back with no anomalies - to them, it should not be there. But, it is. Perhaps, it is a powerful sign of mans undying spirit
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