Rotary Jail Museum, Crawfordsville, IN

The Rotary Jail Museum displays the ultimate in human storage units. There were 18 built, of which three have been preserved. The one here in Crawfordsville was the first built and was the last still operational. It was opened in 1882 as a “solution to the problem of housing prisoners safely and efficiently.” The sixteen, pie-shaped cells limited the contact between inmates and the jailors, thus, it was believed, it would “maintain strict Victorian social order.” The ultimate Lazy Susan, this two-tiered turntable jail is operated by a single hand crank. With only one opening in the outside set of bar, it allows only a single prisoner in or out, to eat, or to go to the bathroom. In 1930, the Indiana State Board of Charities noted, “this structure . . . is old, insecure, unsafe . . . [with] dark, unsanitary cells.” It was finally closed in 1973.