From the June 23, 1898 Anamosa Eureka:

Warden Hunter Extends a Very Cordial Welcome and Shows the Delegation Over the Prison

Some of the Improvements In Contemplation

County Recorder Miles Cook, who is proverbially thoughtful of the courtesies and kindnesses of social and business life, conceived the idea of having a number of our business and professional men pay Warden Hunter and the prison an informal visit so that they might get better acquainted with the new administration and the work now in progress there. This met with a hearty response and last Friday at two o'clock a delegation of forty or fifty entered the warden's office with this object in view. Warden Hunter received his visitors with great cordiality and made a brief but appreciative little speech that was heartily cheered by his hearers. Senator Ellison gave a pointed and happy response, and calls were then made for remarks from T.R. Ercanbrack, T.E. Booth, E.J. Wood, Rev. Father Power, Rev. S.F. Millikan, Rev. J.F. Black, B.H. Miller, A.G. Pangburn, Judge D. McCarn and Judge J.S. Stacy, all responding in the same cordial spirit of good will and enlivening the occasion with frequent spicy allusions that called out plenty of enthusiasm from those present.

An Inspecting Tour

Warden Hunter then conducted the visitors inside, introducing them to Deputy Warden Gurley and other officers, and this was followed by a general inspection of the entire prison. We will mention only the principal points of interest, among the first visited being the north wing of the main cell house building. The foundations are in rapid process of construction, consisting of a solid mass of rock and concrete for a cell room the duplicate of that in the south wing. Several changes, however, are contemplated, the proposal to make the new cells of Bessemer steel instead of stone being the most important.

A new frame shop is located a short distance west of the north wing and in this a planer and other equipments are being installed for the purpose of manufacturing window and door frames and other work of similar character. Still farther to the west is a boiler shop where three new boilers are being constructed.

The central section of the main building is rapidly nearing completion, the towers being of strikingly ornate and imposing design. The front division is called the administration building. Back of this is the spacious rotunda that will command a view of the north and south cell-rooms and to be occupied by guards. Next is the hallway connecting with the chapel, the hallway also opening into twelve sleeping rooms for guards, who will thus be instantly available at night in case of necessity.

The chapel is commodious and well fitted up with seats, pulpit, organ, etc. On the main floor are seating accomodations for about 700, and in the galleries 50 to 100 more. From the chapel north are the library, containing 5000 volumes, nearly all new, the chaplain's office and a room to be occupied by a printing plant. Opening from the chapel south will be the new hospital, dispensary, nurses's and attendant's rooms, closets, operating room with glass top tables, etc., etc.

As we have stated heretofore, the convicts are to be divided into three grades, according to their records of conduct, the first and second grades to be clothed in grey and plaid suits respectively, and the third grade, or incorrigibles, in stripes. The first grade will also have a dining room by themselves, the second grade another, and the third grade will take their meals in their cells. The penitentiary at Fort Madison will adopt the same regulations, and as soon as both prisons are ready the change will take place. We look for an important advance in the betterment of disciplinary conditions under these provisions, and the results in other States where this plan is operative fully justify such expectations.

A new system of baths is to be constructed, and the manager of the bathing apartments, each of which will be supplied with an over-head shower bath, will be able to put forty men through their ablutions every eight minutes, regulating the supply of hot and cold water so that any temperature desired may be furnished.

As soon as the boilers now building shall be completed, the old boiler room will be transformed into a steam laundry with all the modern appointments. The roof is also to be raised and another story added for shops.

The women's department, in charge of Mrs. Waterman, the departments of the aged and the insane and the hospital were likewise inspected. In the latter were only nine patients, three of these having just been received from Fort Madison, and two of the others were the men who were hurt by the recent derrick accident. All were doing well.

A room is being fitted up for the receiving officer and for photographing purposes, and here measurements of convicts received will be made according to the Bertillion System.

The dynamo room is a very interesting place and the dynamos, waterworks pump and engine, with the various equipments belonging thereto, are in charge of Mr. Sadler, a very skillful electrician and mechanic. Among other evidences of his ability is a new commutator for generating electricity, the construction of which requires scientific knowledge of an unusually high character.

Another sample of mechanical genius was shown the party, a lock of very peculiar construction invented by a former convict by the name of Bedford. This lock is put up here at a comparatively small cost and so highly is it regarded that the authorities of a Wisconsin prison probably will make an order for 216 locks. Bedford was pardoned three years ago, attempted to crack a safe in New York for two millions and is now dead.

Last but by no means the least item of importance we wish to mention is a new flagstaff that has been planted in front of the warden's office, and from whose masthead, capped with a ball of gold, "Old Glory" floats to the breeze.

About two hours were spent in sight-seeing, after which the party extended to Warden Hunter their personal thanks and bade him good afternoon. It was one of the most singular events in our history since the establishment of the penitentiary, and our business and professional men and the prison officials, we doubt not, will always regard each other with more consideration as well as appreciation in consequence of this social exchange and the accompanying expressions of good will for the success of the new administration.