Around 28,000 people live in Auburn, an urban outpost in rural Cayuga County. Despite a somewhat shabby downtown, the city has a number of beautiful and remarkably intact buildings dating from the early 1800s. The Auburn Correctional Facility, built in 1817 and still used as a maximum-security state prison, subcontracted inmate labor to local businesses until the 1890s. Cheap prison labor combined with water power streaming in from Owasco Lake and railway transportation routes in every direction conspired to make Auburn one of upstate New York's most important 19th-century industrial centers.
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