Construction of Auburn Prison, designed by J.O. Daniels of New York, began in 1816. After the north wing was constructed, convit labor fromlocal jails was brought in to work on the project. The administrative building was completed in 1818. The south wing and the front wing and wall were the last to completed, around 1823.
Today the front gate matches the style of the original prison.
Five years ago, correctional officers - both retirees and present officers - became disturbed when the original front wall was being torn down. The officers appealed to the stae and tried to have the front gates listed on the National Register. It was at this time the Cayuga County historian’s office was undertaking the Underground Railroad study for Cayuga County. Sheila Tucker, the Cayuga County historian, discovered that a dramatic rescue of a fugitive slave was made upon his release from the prison. This incident put the Auburn prison front gates on the National Underground Railroad site. The front gates subsequently were saved and restored.
Background provided by Sheila Tucker, Cayuga County historian