Built in 1837 and still the county’s oldest remaining public building, Essex County Jail was designed by Eastern State Penitentiary architect John Haviland and served as the area’s main prison for over a century. After undergoing a few renovations and additions over the years, it closed when a new jail was completed in 1970, and it’s been abandoned ever since. [x]
The Newark Landmarks committee rejected a plan to demolish the existing buildings to make a park, due to its designation on the National Register of Historic Places, but the roof is collapsing in places and a number of the tiny cells are occupied by drug addicts. The Warden’s House recently collapsed entirely, and rehabilitation at this point would require some very creative engineering and demolition of sections of the building.
But, considering so many decades of abandonment, its condition is still pretty impressive.