CT to reopen the nation’s oldest surviving prison and copper mine

BY Joe Cooper

PHOTO | Gov. Malloy office
PHOTO | Gov. Malloy office
Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby reopens on July 14.
Connecticut's Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine, a historic landmark and state archaeological preserve, in East Granby will reopen this weekend after being closed for about nine years.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday the historic site at 115 Newgate Road will open on Saturday, July 14, after the area was closed in 2009 for structural repairs.

The site became North America's first operating copper mine in 1705 before it was acquired by

the colony of Connecticut in 1773. The area was converted into a prison, but it was abandoned in 1827 because it was considered inhumane and costly.

In 1968, the state purchased the site, the nation's oldest surviving state prison, and reopened the property as a public museum.

"This is an important landmark, attracting visitors from Connecticut and around the country – and it is a reminder of how far we have come in our criminal justice system," Malloy said. "Connecticut has an incredible history that goes back even before the founding of our nation, and this site preserves some of that cultural heritage."

The state Department of Economic Development (DECD) operates the site, which is open from July 14 through Oct. 29. The site is open on Sundays, Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

DECD also oversees three other historic sites including the Eric Sloane Museum and Kent Iron Furnace in Kent, the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury and the Henry Whitfield State Museum in Guilford.

Take a virtual tour of the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine here.