April 1, 1897 Anamosa Journal


The Prisoners Now Take Their Meals Together -- Work On the Boiler Room

The days when convicts in the Anamosa Penitentiary have been compelled to enjoy their meals in solitude are brought to a close. For seven long months have their rations been dealt out and each man by himself disposed of the meal in the quietude of the lock up. The destroyed dining room made this expedient necessary. Last Sunday the new dining room was formally opened -- as formally as the circumstances will permit and the men again enjoy the fellowship of their companions. The Sunday dinner was the initial meal in the new quarters.

Aside from the grating on the doors which still remains to be set in place the dining room is complete. The room which contains a floor area of 50x117 feet is all that could be desired to make a perfect department. Twenty windows furnish ample light and incandescent globes are strung throughout the room for use when artificial light is required. The ventilation is thorough and another feature of the arrangement which many a first class hotel is lacking in here manifest, is the remote location of the kitchen. No fumes of cookery penetrate the structure. The tables, which are immaculate in their cleanliness, are supplied with seats, 480 in number. While the count at present numbers over 600, the accomodation is ample, from the fact that over a hundred of the inmates find lodging in the hospital, women's department, and insane wards. The attaches of the kitchen together with the waiters further reduce the number to be accommodated at a sitting. The chapel directly overhead is nearing completion and will shortly be in order for services. The library apartments over the kitchen are receiving the finishing touches and ere the new series of books are ready for the convicts this section will be finished. The work on the new dining room, kitchen and the overhead apartments has brooked no delay in hastening its completion and the workmanship throughout is of the highest order. The new acquisition is artisitic. Colored and jeweled glass forms no considerable portion of the window work and the light is mellowed and softened and is soothing to the eye.

New Boiler Room

A force of men have been set to the task of removing the debris from the cellar of the destroyed dining room. An immense amount of crumbled stone and refuse, relics of last August's fire have found lodging at the foot of the four standing walls. Once cleared away work on the new boiler room will begin. The original structure was two stories in height. The walls will be cut down to a level with the top of the first story windows, the jams of the old doors and windows, badly checked by the heat, will give place to new ones and the work of the roofer will be in order. Completed, the building will contain the electric light machinery, to which will be added new dynamos, and the power and heating plant. In the rear of the structure will be built a store room for coal with a capacity of 280 tons The position of the railway tracks will be so altered that cars may be unloaded directly into the store house without the use of wheelbarrows, and perfect system will prevail throughout. The blacksmith, machine and carpenter shops now housed in sheds will hold forth in the building now used for the power plant. The changes are altogether in the right direction and will render the operation of the entire plant as expeditious as clock work.