The Old Jail

Published by at under St. Augustine

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Built by Henry Flagler in 1891 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, the Old Jail served as the St Johns County Jail until 1953. Originally built to house up to 72 prisoners, the two storey northern wing of the Jail consists of a general population and maximum security area, a women’s section and a lower level kitchen. Maximum Security housed the most dangerous prisoners held at the Jail and includes a Death Row cell, for those condemned to die. A total of 8 men were hung from the Gallows on the Jail compound during its history. Overall conditions at the Jail for those serving varying sentences were quite poor by modern standards and prisoners were typically used as free farm laborers during the day. Baths were infrequent, toilet facilities consisted of one bucket per cell and diet was poor and was typically supplemented by any animals that the prisoners might catch while working on the fields. Segregation by race was steadfastly adhered to at the Jail and disease, violence and death were commonplace. The two story southern wing of the Jail consists of an Office for the Sheriff and living quarters for his family. The St. Johns County Jail now serves as the Old Jail Museum.

The Old Jail Museum consists of a restored jail with sheriff’s living quarters. It also contains a display of weaponry. Your guided tour led by the jailers includes a close-up view of the men’s and women’s cells, maximum security, as well as a collection of weapons. See where the sheriff and his wife and children lived right upstairs from the prisoners and used their own kitchen to prepare meals for the inmates. The Old Jail deputies will entertain you with tales of justice and punishment when Florida was America’s southernmost frontier. You might even meet America’s most feared sheriff, Joe Perry. It’s a fun and historic outing for adults and children.

Telephone: 904-829-3800

Web: www.trustedtours.com

Address: 167 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32080

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