You can tour the Old Jail in St. Augustine, FL. What I didn’t know was that I was going to be treated (in good fun) as the convict! This entertaining, family friendly tour takes you through a historic jail as you hear stories about the most violent criminals and the capital punishment set on this property back in 1891. In the image above, I am in a portable convict car, this offered humane housing for convicts at night when they were on public road work.
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Old Jail Tour Review in St. Augustine
Jack, our inmate tour guide at the Old Jail Museum was hilarious and kept everyone on their toes during our tour. We weren’t just standing by learning, we were put in the cells, in the bird cage, and told how our lives would have been when the jail was in service from 1891-1953.
You may not think that he pretty pink building behind me in the picture above was a jail and that is exactly what Flagler wanted – he didn’t want the majestic atmosphere to be tainted with an ugly jail. Flagler’s Victorian house jail was so beautiful that people tried to check in as hotel guests!
The eeriest of the tour was the gallows. We heard stories of when and how the gallows were used. It was creepy seeing one close up and I was happy to quickly pass by it.
Inside the jail, it wasn’t anything like the Romanesque Revival style in design as the outside. It was certainly not the place you wanted to be when it was often very over crowded with no indoor plumbing or glass on the windows (creatures of all kind would come inside as well as the weather!).
The woman were in a separate section of the jail but with no special treatment. It was said that if you knew how to cook, they would add more time to your sentence because they needed women to cook for the inmates as well as the sheriff and those he entertained. On the other hand, if you didn’t know how to cook, they would add on time to your sentence in order to learn. Again, no indoor plumbing of any kind in the cells, ladies…This tour was enlightening and enjoyable to go through with my family. Our tour guide made it fun to learn about something not fun at all, the penal system of the 1800’s!
Old Jail Museum
167 San Marco Ave
St. Augustine, FL 32084
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