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).