Florida’s Secret Prison City


There's a secret prison city in Florida: "It looks like your normal neighborhood, but you won't find this place on any map. The county property appraiser doesn't even have a record of it. In this secret community, some streets have names, others do not. When we plugged in one street name, mapquest said it doesn't exist."
The town is called Starke. According to the Florida Department of Corrections it consists entirely of "staff housing" for a nearby prison. Starke's "lawns are personally cut by the prisoners."
The whole place exists behind high-security barricades, and the news team which wrote the above-linked story was refused entry.


For some reason, however, when I first heard of Starke, I immediately thought of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux's 18th century plans for the royal saltworks at Chaux, in Arc-et-Senans, France. Chaux may not have been a prison, but it was a quasi-utopian (read: radial) community of workers, each of whom had their own assigned home and workspace. The whole thing was overseen by what was in effect a plantation master. With all the workers living on-site, the community formed a kind of early industrial "factory town," a total-living experience – that, for some reason, seems oddly like Starke. Maybe not.
It is Chaux whose images you see here.


[Image: Ledoux's saltwork utopia, from Gallica].

(Via Archinect's own live-in avant-garde, Bryan Finoki).

Comments are moderated.

If it's not spam, it will appear here shortly!


Anonymous rabbitsnake said...

really easy joke, but isn't this town called Celebration?

Sorry, cheap shot.

December 01, 2005 6:38 PM  
Blogger Jack Meoff said...

Most of you people couldnt even find Raiford if you went looking for it. Beside they are inmates who really cares if they mow a little grass. If they dont work they dont have to eat either. If they were such great people would they be here?

February 04, 2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Wow, amazing that you found the part of that post that I never wrote and that doesn't appear anywhere on this site in which I claim that the prisoners are all great people. Good reading skills!

February 04, 2006 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Prison Guard said...

If you're referring to FSP (Florida State Prison), it's maybe 6 miles outside of Starke on SR-16. US301 runs through Starke, and there are no checkpoints. FSP is the ONLY prison in florida that executes death row inmates. Camera crews are regularly alowed to film, and the Department has a fairly decent PR dept that will clear almost any reputable news organization for interviews of prison officials. There is a state owned trailer park, and 20 'actual' houses for staff housing, not even .1% of Starkes available residences.

Please see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starke%2C_Florida
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_State_Prison

Check your facts or ist your entry as fiction.

September 07, 2006 5:59 PM  
Blogger joanna said...

i've lived in raiford.on base, my grandfather worked at the prison,i can remember the inmates doing the yard work..i also remember the cantene ,and the ten oclock curfew van coming around the base to insure all's safety.

March 06, 2007 4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RAIFORD PRISON, HOW I HATE THE PLACE, AND YES AS ONE OF YOU SAID IF THEY WERE SUCH GOOD PEOPLE WOULD THEY BE THERE? WELL YES AND NO. THE FATHER OF MY CHILD IS ON DEATH ROW THERE. AND HE TOOK THE FALL FOR HIS SON. HE WILL BE PUT TO DEATH FOR A MURDER HE NEVER DID. AND GOING THERE TO VISIT IS A DRAIN YOU JUST CAN'T PUT INTO WORDS. AS FAR AS OTHER MEN ON THE ROW SOME WHO SHOULD BE THERE ARE MONSTERS LET ME TELL YOU. MEETING TED BUNDY MADE ME SICK. YOU SEE THINGS AND HEAR THINGS YOU WISH YOU NEVER HAD. IF YOU ONLY KNEW THE HALF OF IT. BUT THEY DO MAKE MISTAKES, LIKE THAT OF A MAN THEY PUT IN THE CHAIR IT TOOK THREE TIMES TO ZAP HIM BEFORE HE CAUGHT ON FIRE AND DIED LATER THEY FOUND HIM NOT GUILTY. HOW SAD FOR JESSIE THAT WAS HIS NAME. NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING UNLESS THEY GO THERE! AND IT IS HELL ON EARTH.

March 16, 2008 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try researching the riot of 1971! It's supposed to be one of the worst in U.S.history due to the inmate death toll. The official story from the prison was that the inmates rushed the gate. Graphic bloody pictures are posted on the DOC website....all taken inside of the prison. There was no riot. It was just a massacre. I had a family member incarcerated there at the time...also innocent. He was beaten by the police until he signed a confession in 1964. This was before the Miranda rights and incidents like that made a need for them. Make fun of or judge something that you know nothing about. You will grow up one day

February 16, 2014 4:02 AM  

Post a Comment