Vintage 1910 Cook County Jail Photos

Chicago’s Cook County Jail Photos

Chicago Cook County Jail 1910 PictureFriedman Fine Art offers this gorgeous historical photograph of Cook County Jail located in Chicago, Illinois.

This vintage image is of inmates in 1910 at one of Chicago’s first correctional facilities. In the early 1800’s, Cook County Jail was originally known as the local Bridewell. Bridewell, a term taken from English culture, was initially the home of King Henry VIII, in 1555 it became a poorhouse and eventually became a jail. Prior to the “Bridewell” built in 1852, Chicago’s first jail in 1835 was very small in stature and made of wood due to the small local population and even lower crime rate. However, as the population grew, crime did as well and the wooden shack would no longer be sufficient. A slightly larger facility was constructed on Hubbard street for those who were awaiting trial for serious offenses while those who committed lesser offenses were detained at the Bridewell.

In Chicago’s quest to become the largest city in the world, the population grew larger and the Bridewell suffered over population leading to yet another facility move and rebuild at 26th and California where the buildings location has stayed. Over the years, the 26th and California location has seen an expansion and even has a criminal courthouse. The jail now spans 96 acres (a little over 8 city blocks) and is the largest in America with a daily population of 9,000 (women and men). In addition to this, the corrections facility has eight city blocks with divisions that cater to: health services, education, food, a commissary agency and four sheriff’s departments as well as a law library, chapel and visiting area. Some of its notable inmates include Richard Speck and Al Capone.

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