by Anna Jordan


- Old road gets a new look

- Massachusetts General Hospital

- Charles Street Jail

- Charles River Plaza

- Saltonstall Building


Charles Street Jail

The old Charles Street Jail, once known as the Suffolk County Jail, held infamous prisoners, such as Sacco and Vanzetti. Its location overlooking the Charles River was often thought to be an impressive locale for prisoners. Courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.

Despite its view of the Charles River and its proximity to affluent Beacon Hill, it is not a place many have wanted to be taken to. No luxuries here. The concrete walls no longer echo with the whispers of past residents. It is an abandoned shell, ready for renewal.

The historic Charles Street Jail, constructed in 1851, is an entirely unique building. Its original crucifix shape, formed out of a center rotunda area with four extending wings, at one time housed famous criminals, including Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian anarchists jailed for crimes they were never proven of committing.

Tools of construction and orange fences currently mask the Charles Street Jail.

Now, the jail will be transformed into a building to host guests, visitors and Mass General Hospital patients.

The site, purchased by MGH from the state, will mix history and modernity. Extensive planning has ensured that the jail's renovation will include and capture its historic value.

The shell of the old Charles Street Jail will eventually be tucked away between Mass General Hospital, and a new hotel. The jail will serve as the center for both. Courtesy of Mass General Hospital.




- The Charles/MGH T station in the past

- The Charles/MGH T station today

- The Charles/MGH T station of the future

- The old Charles Street Jail

- Construction at the site of Charles Street jail

- The Charles Street Jail in the future

- The Charles River Plaza now

- The Charles River Plaza in the future

- The Saltonstall building now

- The Saltonstall building in the future

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City in Transition: About - Links - Site Map - Emerson College
Neighborhoods covered: Back Bay - Beacon Hill - Brookline - Chinatown - Dorchester - East Boston - Jamaica Plain -Mission Hill -
North End - Roxbury - South Boston - South End - West Roxbury

Information about this project See the contents of the site Go to Emerson's web site