Alton, IL Penitentiary Fire, Aug 1858

St. Louis, Aug. 14.-The work shops, the dining hall, the chapel, the hospital and two or three other small buildings, together with a large quantity of material and finished work belonging to the Penitentiary at Alton, were destroyed by fire last night. Loss $30,000; fully insured. The state loses nothing. Messrs. SAUGER & CARRI having purchased the entire property from the state sometime since.

The New Albany Daily Ledger, New Albany, IN 16 Aug 1858


Fire At The State Penitentiary.

Alton, Ill., Aug. 14. About 8’oclock last evening a fire broke out in one of the workshops, in the yard of the State prison, in this city. Two of the workshops, the dining hall, chapel, hospital, kitchen and two or three other small buildings were destroyed. A large amount in cooper’s and other materials, were also destroyed. A large cooper-shop, carriage and wagon shop, with stable and other outbuildings were saved.

The main building, in which are the cells of the prisoners, and the residence of the Warden, being fire proof, was uninjured, but the heat was so intense that the convicts had to be taken from their cells to save them from suffocation. Many of these lent their aid actively and energetically to arrest the progress of the flames and save the property; while others showed a spirit of insubordination, and attempted to escape, in which, however none of the succeeded.

The value of the property destroyed will fall but little short of $30,000, all of which is covered by insurance in Eastern offices.-The state loses nothing, as Messrs. SANGER & CASEY (the latter of whom is warden) had purchased the entire property from the State some time since.

The flying sparks and cinders communicated fire to Messrs. J.A. MITCHELL & Co.’s Mill, immediately above the Penitentiary landing. It was however, extinguished without much damage. Origin of the fire unknown.

Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, IA 17 Aug 1858