Mount McGregor Correctional Facility
Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility was a medium security prison for male inmates in the Town of Moreau, Saratoga County, New York, USA. It was served by the Wilton, New York post office and included 100 structures on over 1,000 acres. Before updating security, it was called "Camp Walkaway" due to the number of breakouts. It became a prison in 1976 and closed on July 26, 2014.
The peak, Mt. McGregor, was originally called "Palmertown Mountain", named after a local native tribe. It was renamed after Duncan McGregor, who purchased the land in a tax sale and constructed a small resort along with a restaurant for summer visitors. The Saratoga, Mount McGregor and Lake George Railroad later bought the property and opened a more sumptuous resort at the end of a rail line. When the Hotel Balmoral burned in 1897, the resort faded in popularity.
The "Sanatorium on the Mountain" at Mount McGregor was opened in 1913 by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for the benefit of its employees suffering from tuberculosis. It closed in 1945. This sanatorium, fully staffed by doctors and a nursing staff, had a goal of restoring the health of all the company's employees. A labyrinth of underground passages still exist that were used to transport the bodies of patients who died to the church and crematorium.
After World War II, the sanatorium served as a facility for military veterans returning to civilian life. Local stories suggest Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner looked into purchasing the property in the 1960s or early 1970s.
In 1960 the facility was taken over by the State of New York as a school for the mentally retarded. At first the school was the Mount McGregor division of Rome State School and then became Wilton State School.
The New York State Department of Corrections assumed control in 1976. At first the complex was a minimum-security prison, later adding medium-security facilities. It consisted of 100 structures on over 1,000 acres, including dormitories, a 1915 Mission-style chapel, a gymnasium and a lake. The buildings covered 550,000 square feet and ranged in age from 1913 to 2007. The prison closed in 2014.
Neighboring Moreau Lake State Park will incorporate 750 undeveloped acres of the former facility. As of 2015, the state is considering proposals for the sale of an additional 325 acres, including all the buildings, for redevelopment.
As of 2016 the prison has not been sold and the site is still closed to the public. Conspiracy theorists believe the prison is being retained by the federal government to be used as a secret detention center in case of "civil disturbances or plague outbreaks."
Grant Cottage State Historic Site, where former U.S. president and army general Ulysses S. Grant spent the last six weeks of his life, was within the grounds of the correctional facility and visitors had to pass a checkpoint. Grant spent the last weeks of his life there, finishing his memoirs just a few days before he died. The historic site is not part of the area to be sold.
- "Upstate New York prison without walls up for sale". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- Karlin, Karl (July 25, 2014). "Prison set to close, but not quietly". Albany Times-Union (Albany, N.Y.). Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- Breidenbach, Michelle (June 30, 2015). "New York State is selling the abandoned Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility in Saratoga County". syracuse.com (Syracuse, New York). Retrieved September 12, 2015.
- Karlin, Rick (April 28, 2016). "Plans to turn Summit Shock in Schoharie County into a car recycling center fail". Times Union. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Report for an Adaptive Re-Use Plan Mount McGregor Correctional Facility New York State Department of Economic Development