The New-Gate prison complex initially consisted of abandoned underground facilities alone, lacking any above-ground walls or barriers and accessible from a 35-foot shaft to the tunnels. However, as time passed, the property evolved to accommodate a need for heightened security. What was once viewed as “inescapable” due to the underground structure would become a space notorious for riots and escapes.
To enhance security measures, the Guardhouse was erected directly above the mine entrance, accommodating on-site guards who deterred prisoners from escaping through the shaft. In 1802, the fortification of the prison grounds further expanded to include 12-foot stone walls.
Following the prison’s closure, unsuccessful mining endeavors persisted throughout the 19th century, but none proved profitable, leading to their eventual closure. In the early 20th century, resourceful property owners seized the opportunity to open the site to the public, marketing it as a tourist attraction. The prison complex underwent various alterations during this period, including the conversion of the former guardhouse into a dance hall.
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 Peterson, Karin. “Escape from New-Gate Prison.” Connecticut Explored, 2006. https://www.ctexplored.org/escape-from-new-gate-prison/.
 Mangan, Gregg. “Notorious New-Gate Prison.” Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project – Stories about the people, traditions, innovations, and events that make up Connecticut’s rich history., October 18, 2021. https://connecticuthistory.org/notorious-new-gate-prison/.
 Schenawolf, Harry. “Simsbury Mine – American Revolution’s First National Prison: A Dark Dismal Cavern of Slippery Stinking Filth.” Revolutionary War Journal, March 23, 2022. https://revolutionarywarjournal.com/simsbury-mine-american-revolutions-first-national-prison-a-dark-dismal-cavern-of-slippery-stinking-filth/.