In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Hallowell

Prisons and Firearms

The information found in Hallowell’s annual reports described the Maine State Prison in the 1800’s. William King, former governor, paid 3,000 dollars for a 10-acre prison site. It was known as Limestone Hill. The Legislative Branch built it and owned it too. On September 15, 1924, a fire started in the broom shop, spreading to the jail. The total amount of loss from the fire was $500,000. In 1924, the prison was rebuilt and donated by Percival P. Baxter, governor at the time. When apprehended and found guilty of a crime, the criminal dressed in orange jumpsuits, would be required to rake leaves or do yard work for retribution. Instead of shackles or chains, they were handcuffed for a short period of time upon arrival to their cell. Today's jails are cleaner and more secure than in the 1900’s, and people who commit crimes in Hallowell are sent to the Kennebec County Jail.

Before any of the police in Hallowell had any firearms of any kind to defend their community, they were given billy clubs or “night sticks." A night stick was a large club to stop criminals by hitting them and knocking them down. Police did not have bullets until 1880. Eventually, officers of the police department were given revolvers to defend themselves and their community from the dangers of crimes. Now in later times such as these, police are issued semiautomatic firearms; for example, the 45. caliber Glock handguns. Sometimes for more dangerous missions, the police are given 12 gauge shotguns to put down criminals more efficiently.