The prison was a conversion of a former tuberculosissanatorium, which was named after Bishop Henry Gabriels when it was opened in 1897. The sanatorium was later used as part of nearby Paul Smith's College before is was sold to be used as a prison, beginning in 1982.
Most of the prisoners worked on forestry-related projects and received instruction from conservation officers.
The prison officially closed on July 1, 2009, as a result of New York state's budget cutbacks.
The Office of General Services set a sealed bidding process for the 336-bed, 92-acre facility. Bids are due April 26, 2011; the minimum bid is $750,000.