Sen. Kissel: East Granby’s Historic Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine to Re-Open in 2014

June 1, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Granby News

Governor and local officials tour Old New Gate Prison and Copper Mine
(Editor’s note: this is a press release from the office of State Rep. Bill Simanski.)

EAST GRANBY — State and local elected officials joined Gov. Dannel Malloy Friday, May 17 for an informational tour of the Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby.

During a tour of the old prison grounds, state and locals leaders saw recent renovations done to the facility and discussed plans for the historic grounds to re-open in 2014.

“New-Gate is a gem to our community, our state and our nation,” said State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-Granby). “New-Gate’s rich and interesting past should be shared with all Connecticut residents and tourists, and I hope to have this magnificent piece of history receive all the support and funding needed to re-open to the general public once again.”

Originally a commercial copper mine for the British Colonies in 1705, New-Gate prison was established in 1773 after the Connecticut General Assembly ordered the grounds become the state’s, and the nation’s, first prison.

“It’s been one of the state’s most popular historic sites, with 20,000 visitors a year,” said State Sen. John A. Kissel. “We want to see it teeming with visitors once again, and we very much appreciate the governor’s visit. From its historic and entertainment value to its breathtaking ridgeline location, New-Gate is a true tourist destination. We can’t wait for the re-opening next year.”

During the Revolutionary War, political prisoners were held at the facility. Women were first committed to serve sentences in 1824, but shortly thereafter, the facility was closed in 1827 due to its high operating costs and inhumane treatment of prisoners. After its closing, all mining operations had ceased.

Now, after many safety renovations and lighting improvements in the underground mines and throughout the prison grounds, the state hopes to re-open the prison in 2014.

State Rep. Bill Simanski represents the 62nd General Assembly district, covering Barkhamsted, Granby, Hartland and New Hartford. For more information, visit