AKA: U.S. Federal Penitentiary, McNeil Island, WA; Washington State Department of Corrections, McNeil Island Corrections Center, McNeil Island, WA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - correctional institutions - prisons

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1875

1403 Commercial Street
Steilacoom, WA 98388-0900

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map

Originally, the Washington Territorial government procured land for a penitentiary from an early island settler named John Swan. (See Herbert Hunt, Tacoma Its History and Builders A Half Century of Activity, [Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916], vol. 1, p. 15.) The McNeil Island Penitentiary opened with one cell block, 05/28/1875. A second cell block was erected between 1907-1911 when it was a U.S. Federal Penitentiary, and an extensive period of expansion occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. During these two decades, more cell houses, an administration building, auditorium, hospital, kitchen and dining hall were added to the complex. In 1933, a portion of the prison called the Federal Farm Camp (what is now euphemistically known as the Special Commitment Center) opened. In 1981, the Washington State Department of Corrections gained control over the prison, renaming it the McNeil Island Corrections Center. McNeil Island is the only facility in the U.S. to have served as a Territorial, Federal and state prison.

Tel: (253) 588-5281 (2006);

The Tacoma architect, George Gove, served as a Consulting Architect on the McNeil Island Prison.

PCAD id: 7184