State and town at odds over future of historic prison camp
RUTLAND, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the town of Rutland are at odds over the future of what’s left of a century-old prison camp in the community.
The state wants to demolish the remaining buildings at the Rutland Prison Camp, calling them a public safety hazard, The Telegram & Gazette reported on Wednesday.
The Rutland Select Board, with backing from state lawmakers Anne Gobi and Kimberly Ferguson, opposes the demolition of what they call a historic site.
Gobi and Ferguson created an amendment aimed at preserving the Rutland Prison Camp, allocating $50,000 for the preservation, protection, signage and maintenance of the camp. On May 25, the Senate adopted the amendment, which will go to a conference committee before being put on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk for approval.
The town’s historical commission has also started the process to get the camp on the state Registry of Historical Places.
The camp was started in 1903 as a working farm for prisoners to grow food and tend to livestock. It included a dormitory and other buildings, and in 1907, a 30-bed hospital was built for prisoners with tuberculosis.
The camp was abandoned in 1934.