The Mt. Gretna Maximum State Security Prison

The Mt. Gretna Maximum State Security Prison: A Monumental Failure by P.B. Gibble Jr., 1994

This is why I love local history.  It’s the stories that are too good to be made up.  In 1937, construction started on a state prison outside of Lawn, located 4 miles from Mt. Gretna in Lebanon County.  It was never completed, for the following year, and after a change in Governors, all worked stopped.  The prison barely got off the ground, but in the state gamelands close to Gretna there are ruins from this aborted project.  I’ve been running and hiking in the Gretna area for over a decade and this is the first I’ve heard of these ruins.  I actually tried finding them, but to no avail.  I’ll have to wait for fall when the foliage is less dense.  This is little more than a pamphlet really, as its only about 30 pages, but it paints a strange story of politics and economics.  Its strange to think of Mt. Gretna, peaceful and quaint as it is, as nearly being home to such a structure.  You can’t make this stuff up!

Keith L Greenawalt

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