The demolition of the 1914 Northampton County Jail has officially begun. The building, which has been abandoned for years, has been called by some an eye sore to the other wise aesthetically pleasing Eastville Court Green. Demolition began Monday morning.
Two bids were received to complete the demolition, one from CM Munden, LLC for $44,265, and $36,172 by Macsons, Inc. Macsons, Inc. was chosen.
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society had hoped the County would save the doors and locks from the 1914 jail, which were very similar to the type used at Alcatraz, and add them to the museum which includes the Northampton County Court Records, the longest continuous in the United States. According to their website, cases opened which housed inner locking mechanisms for three cells. The jail has 4 sets of these on two floors. This was “cutting edge” technology for its day. This type of locking mechanism was used about 14 years later at the Indiana jail where John Dillinger escaped. The cell locking controls would allow for one, two or three cells to open separately or all at one time. Unfortunately, the County decided not to, which would have added approximately $27,449 to the winning bid’s cost. Munden’s cost to save the historic doors and locks was an additional $7,600.
Demolition is expected to take three weeks to complete.