This is a reformatory posing as a nineteenth-century castle: it has towers, crenellation, and all the expected attributes. The soberness of its purpose is countered by the playfulness of the overall image. When construction began in the 1870s, it was described as “one of the finest buildings in the state, and among the best arranged and magnificent prisons in the west.” 2 The central section was finished in 1880, the women's section in 1881, and the administrative building in 1889. 3
Alfred Theodore Andreas, Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875, 458.
Lori Erickson, “Anamosa's Landmark in Stone,” Iowan 38:3 (Spring 1990): 22–27.