Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine

Useful Information

Location: Between Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA.
I-91 exit 40, West on Rt. 20 for 13 km. Behind the intersection with Rt. 187, up the hill, turn right at the signal light. North on Newgate Road for 2 km, Old Newgate Prison is on the left.
Open: MAY to OCT Wed-Sun 10-16:30. [2006]
Fee: Adults USD 5, Children (6-17) USD 3, Children (0-5) free, Students USD 4, Seniors (60+) USD 4 .
Groups (10+): Adults USD , Children USD . [2006]
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=3,200 m, T=13 °C.
Guided tours: self guided
Address: Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine, 115 Newgate Road, East Granby, CT 06026, Tel: +1-860-653-3563.
Old New-Gate Prison, Inc., P.O. Box 169, North Granby, Connecticut 06060, Tel: +1-860-844-0262 E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1705 copper mine opened.
1770 mine closed.
1773 first used to house serious criminals.
1790 jail becomes first State Prison.
1800 first cell block above ground built.
1827 Newgate prison closed, re-opened as mine.
1976 declared a National Historic Landmark.



Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine is one of the leading tourist attractions in Connecticut. It is a National Historic Landmark owned and administered by the State of Connecticut. The reason is obviously the history as a prison, not the mine.

Old New-Gate Mine was opened early in the 18th century as the nation's first chartered copper mine. The copper was moved down the Connecticut River and up to Boston, where it was shipped to refineries in England. But although it is considered the birthplace of the American copper industry, it was not profitable, and after some time it was closed. At this time much bigger copper deposits were found in states such as Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Michigan, and the mining activities moved to those locations.

After a few years, the Colony of Connecticut started to use the abandoned tunnels as a prison, and so it became the country's first state prison. The General Assembly decided to imprison serious criminals (burglars, horse thieves, counterfeiters, and forgers) in a working environment. This was an alternative to the whipping post, torture and mutilation. The first prisoner was John Hinson, who was committed for burglary. He was also the first who escaped the new jail. Later, during the Revolutionary War, Tories and Loyalists were held here. Viets Tavern stood across the street while it was still a mine. After the mines were converted into a prison the first warden of the prison lived here.

The visit starts at the prison yard. The former guardhouse contains a small museum explaining the history of the site. A video of the mine tour is shown before the visitors enter the mine by descending a lomg stair. The stair replaces the original ladder entrance, used for almost 200 years. Being a 300 years old mine, the passages are rather narrow and low.