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Wethersfield Unlocks Exhibit On Prison History

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The Wethersfield Historical Society has opened up what had been a closed society for over a century as part of a new exhibit.

The town was once the prison capital of Connecticut, home to what was known as the "Castle on the Cove" -- the state prison that housed thousands of inmates from 1827 top 1963.

"Many people are not even aware that there was ever a prison in historic Old Wethersfield," said Amy Wittorff, the executive director of the Wethersfield Historical Society. The prison was torn down in 1967 and the land is now occupied by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The exhibit, which was researched and planned for more than two years, opened at the Historical Society last week and will remain there throughout 2016. Displays include an actual cell which visitors can go inside of and close the heavy iron bars behind them, various uniforms from inmates and guards, and the electric chair (which is enclosed in a Lucite case) that was used in 18 capital punishment executions from 1900 to 1963.

Rachel Zilinski, the exhibit's curator, said "We are exploring the entire prison system."

Castle on the Cove was made possible with grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Mortensen Foundation. The exhibit is open Tuesday through Sunday and is free to view.

For more information visit http://www.wethhist.org/

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