"Usuaiha (Military Prison)" Top 5 Page for this destination Argentina Things to Do Tip by worldtraveler55
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History of the Prison
Construction of the "Presidio Nacional" began in 1902 and finished in 1920. Labour was supplied by the prisoners themselves. In 1920, the Penitentiary had 5 pavilions with 76 external cells each. The 386 cells were all designed for the occupancy of only one prisoner, but the penitentiary at one point had some 600 inmates.
The kitchen was set up between Pavilion 1, otherwise known as the "Historic Pavilion" and Pavilion 2, and the bakery was set up between pavilions 1 and 5. The workshops were located in separate buildings. It was only in 1943 that a modern hospital established on the premises. This hospital was later to become the Naval Base Hospital and for a long time it was to be the only one in the area. The Central hall, or "Multiple Rotunda" was used as a conference room, movie theatre and auditorium.
Numerous delinquents who had committed serious crimes came to be incarcerated here through the course of time, some serving life imprisonment and others serving considerably long sentences. Inmates were paid for their work, elementary-school education was offered and severe discipline was the norm.
The penitentiary had 30 work sectors, some of them were off the premises.
Inmates were taken off the premises as a source of manual labour in tasks such as the construction of streets, bridges, buildings and obtaining lumber. This is how, in 1910, the southernmost train in the world came to be built. It was 25 km. long and its route followed alongside Maipú street, passing by the camp at Monte Susana and dividing in two separate routs, heading towards what is nowadays the National Park. The penitentiary also relied on several vessels, with "La Godoy" being the most notorious.
In 1947, with the change in designation from National Territory to a Maritime State, the National Presidency declared the closure of the penitentiary. The installations were transferred to the Marine Ministry. and a Naval Base was established in it in 1950.
Today it houses Museo Maritimo de Ushuaia
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