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Home to prisoners for over 60 years, the Old Jail in St. Augustine looks more like a resort than a maximum-security facility. The original structure was built in 1891 by Henry Flagler; and although it has been restored and renovated throughout the years, it looks very much the way it did when it opened over a century ago.
The exterior Romanesque Revival appearance, giving it the look of a Victorian house, belies the stark reality of what’s inside. This was done by design. It was important to Flagler that the jail did not interfere with the beauty of the Ancient City. Except for the barred windows and the set of gallows on the property, it was unrecognizable as a jail.
The historic jail, now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, served the city of St. Augustine from 1891-1953. The Old Jail’s unique history is filled with fascinating stories about the prisoners and practices that took place.
Today, visitors to the Old Jail can take a guided tour, learn about the many prisoners and practices that took place here and see where the Sheriff and his wife and family lived— adjacent to where the prisoners were housed.
Meet Sheriff Joe Perry who had a reputation as being a harsh and strict warden – one of the toughest in the South. Walk through the men’s and women’s cells and see where executions took place in the gallows. Discover the history behind judicial practices in the 19th century and see an array of weapons and artifacts.
It’s a fun and historic outing for adults and children.
Adults and children are thoroughly entertained by our costumed actors who portray deputies from the early days and everyone gets a chance to try and escape! The Old Jail is one of just a few prisons of its kind still standing and makes for a great sightseeing and history adventure.