Upon first glance, this may look like just another historic building found across Boston. However, upon entering the Liberty Hotel, one realizes this was no ordinary building but rather once a jail that was in operation for more than a century.
Originally known as the Charles Street Jail or Suffolk County Jail, it’s located on the west end of the city overlooking the Charles River. It was constructed between 1848-1851 and proposed by Mayor Martin Brimmer during his inaugural address of 1843 as a replacement for the older Leverett Street Jail.
The original jail was built using Quincy granite with four wings extending from a central octagonal rotunda and housed around 220 cells. The prisoners were segregated by sex and nature of offense with 30 arched windows providing ventilation and natural light.
Throughout its years of operation, it housed a wide range of inmates from mob hitmen to a former governor. In 1973, the United States District Court ruled that due to overcrowding and neglected conditions, the constitutional rights of the inmates were being violated and the jail closed in 1990. It reopened in 2007 as the Liberty Hotel with much of the historic architecture still preserved.
Know Before You Go
Tours are offered every Wednesday at 2pm via reservation.