Picture of Gratiot Street Prison
in the 1860s from "Story of a Border City During the Civil War"
by Galusha Anderson, published 1908
Site of Gratiot Street Prison
today--a parking lot of the headquarters of Ralston Purina Company
The building that became Gratiot
Street Prison originally housed McDowell Medical College, owned and
operated by Joseph Nash McDowell. The wing north of the tower housed
the college, the wing to the south was McDowell's home.
This 1848 illustration of
McDowells College shows the unfinished building and tower lacking
the distinctive dome
Ralston Purina's history on the
site of the former Gratiot Street Prison begins well after the
building had been demolished.
An article in "Square
Talk," an in-house publication for Ralston Purina employees,
from May 1995, discusses the history of the site. Gene McCoskey,
Manager of Contract Services and Security, is quoted in the article
as saying, "Whenever the grounds crew does any type of digging
on the property near the Administration Building, they always come
back and mention all the rubble they find after going into the
ground just a short distance...I think they are finding rubble of
the old prison."
Ralston Purina has some history of their time at the site
on their website.
Ralston Purina Company Historic