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Auburn, New York (Hayward)

Gazetteer/Almanac

John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America… (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 273.

Auburn, N. Y., c. h. Cayuga co. 173 miles W. from Albany, and 152 miles E."from Buffalo. This is one of the most beautiful and thriving inland towns in the state. It is situated on both sides of the stream which forms the outlet of the Owasco Lake, about a mile and a half S. of the body of the lake. There is a fine hydraulic power upon the stream where it passes through the town, which is largely improved for mills and manufacturing purposes. The entire fall is about 100 feet, and the amount of water discharged from the lake is large and little affected by the variations of flood or drought. A large cotton factory, several flouring mills, saw,mills, sash and blind factories, planing mills, iron founderies, and other works are carried by this water power. Auburn is pleasantly laid out, though with less regularity than is commonly aimed at in modern towns. The streets are generally straight, but seldom parallel, and consequently intersecting each other, for the most part at every variety of acute and obtuse angles. The principal streets are wide, well paved, or macadamized, and built up in some sections with handsome ranges of stores, dwellings, and public houses, of brick or dressed limestone, some of them four stories high, which would not discredit the streets of our largest commercial cities. The state prison located at Auburn has been regarded, in its system of discipline, as a model for such institutions. It is located in the N. W. part of the village, enclosing a square of 500 feet on a side, by a stone wall from 16 to 40 feet high. The buildings form three sides of a square, 276 feet in front, the wings running back 242 feet, with a width of 45 feet. In the area formed by the main prison buildings is a grass plot, laid out with gravel walks. In the rear of this is the interior enclosure, occupied by the workshops of the prisoners, built against the outer wall of the prison yard. The outlet of the Owasco passes by the S. side of this enclosure, and is made to turn a wheel without the wall, the shaft of which, passing through, gives motion to the machinerywithin. The prisoners labor in the shops by day under the direction of the overseers, in the presence of each other, but without any communication, and at at night they go to occupy each his solitary cell. This system, as distinguished from the old method of placing several prisoners in the same apartments for lodging, with opportunity of unrestrained intercourse on the one hand, and from that of solitary confinement in their separate cells, by day as well as by night, on the other, is what has obtained the name of the "Auburn system of prison discipline," in consequence of its having been first set in operation here, and the prison being constructed with special reference to its application. The chief peculiarity of structure is in the arrangement of the cells. The cells are in a body, or block, extending through the centre of each wing of the prison buildings, ranged in tiers of four stories high, with galleries or stagings passing by the doors. The space between this block of cells and the walls of the prison is 10 feet wide from top to bottom, thus forming, as it were, a prison within a prison. The cells are 7 feet long, 7 feet high, and 3f| feet wide, sufficiently lighted while daylight continues, and well warmed and ventilated from the intermediate area. The earnings of the Auburn prison for the year 1850, were $68,737.31; the expenditures, $71,166-07. There is usually a balance in favor of the establishment. The surplus in 1849 was $10,837.80. This prison was commenced in 1816. There is at Auburn a Theological Seminary, of the Presbyterian Church, connected with the New School General Assembly. The buildings are pleasantly situated in the N. part of the village. The principal edifice is of stone, composed of a centre building and two wings, four stories high, connected by intermediate sections of three stories above the basements, the whole presenting a front of 200 feet. (See Theological Seminaries.) The other public buildings in Auburn are the court house and jail, the Auburn Academy, the Auburn Female Seminary, and churches of the Presbyterian, Episcopal. Methodist, Baptist, Universalist, and Roman Catholic denominations. Auburn was settled in 1793. Incorporated as a village in 1815, and as a town in 1823. Population in 1850, 9548.

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