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Old Gaol

Legislation for the establishment of a royal prison for the Province of Maine was enacted in 1653, and after some delay a building for this purpose was erected at Meetinghouse Creek in the village of York in 1656. The present Gaol was built in 1719 with timbers salvaged from the original structure. With the influx of settlers into Maine in the mid-18th century, the building was enlarged to provide more space for the housing of prisoners, as well as improving accommodations for the gaoler's family. The humanitarian drive to better prison conditions for debtors following the Revolution resulted in the addition of a large debtor's cell in the 1790s, giving the building its present shape.