DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) – The demolition of the old Utah State Prison in Draper at the point of the mountain begins with the toppling of a guard tower on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The demolition will begin at 10 a.m. and the public is invited to the ceremony in person. It will also be streamed on The Point’s YouTube Channel, Twitter account, and Facebook page.
Officials said the destruction of the guard tower signals a critical milestone in the development of Utah’s Innovation Community, known as “The Point.”
The demolition of the prison is expected to take several months and the first phase of redevelopment is said to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Current plans for the area, however, include affordable housing, parks, regional trail connections, and, according to The Point officials, “will ultimately enhance Utahns’ quality of life.”
While many of the aging and outdated facilities of the prison will be removed, The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority has moved to preserve some aspects of the prison, including the chapel and the Johnson Bar locking system.
According to the Point, inmates built the prison chapel in the 1960s with a “multi-denominational group of community organizations and citizens who helped to fund its construction.” Since its completion, the chapel has provided a place to exercise spirituality. The Point officials said the chapel will be left standing and will continue to serve “as a symbol of redemption and hope.”
The Johnson Bar, a mechanical locking system that allowed guards to open individual cell doors or groups of cell doors by remotely pulling levers will also be preserved. Other than the Draper prison, The Point officials say the only other prison the locking system can be found is the one on Alcatraz Island.
Inmates from the old prison were moved to a new facility in Salt Lake City in July.