Wisconsin State Prison Historic District

Also known as: Waupun Correctional Institution
200 S. Madison St., Waupun, Wisconsin

Maximum security penitentiary in Waupun


Overview Looking Northwest

In 1851, Governor Nelson Dewey selected Waupun as the location of the state penitentiary. A temporary facility was built in 1851, a stone structure was completed in 1854 and is still in use.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2013




The prison was commissioned by Governor Nelson Dewey in 1851 when a temporary structure was built. The first limestone building, finished in 1854, is still in use.

The design belies the purpose of the campus, except for the small sign that says, "Waupun Correctional Institution" and the guard towers.

The prison was added to the NRHP in 1992.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 22, 1992
Reference number
Areas of significance
Politics/Government; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Correctional facility
Current function
Correctional facility
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1925-1949
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 7
Contributing structures: 1
Non-contributing buildings: 10

Update Log 

  • June 16, 2013: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • June 14, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status and added description.