Photo courtesty of www.hauntedhouses.com/states/fl/saint-augustine-jail.htm
Go Straight To (The) Jail!
Ladies, you better cover those ankles! Men, mind your manners while in public! Otherwise you could land yourself a stay at St. Augustine’s Old Jail. As the story goes, railroad tycoon Henry Flager was less than fond of the central location of the original jail in the Nation’s Oldest City. He was not thrilled that the high-society clientele staying at his famed Ponce De Leon Hotel (now Flagler College) would have a view of the prisoners on the chain gang, breaking blocks and building gallows. Flagler promptly went to the city and pled his case, asking that a new jail be built on the outskirts of town. The city responded with a unanimous ‘no’, so a few weeks later Mr. Flagler came back with ten thousand dollars, cash, and asked again. That got him the answer he wanted, and construction of the jail on the north side of town began. He requested it be painted a dusty rose so as to look like a prominent St. Augustine home, giving it more appeal. Imagine the red faces of those who have tried to check into the pretty pink bed and breakfast with the sweet smelling jasmine (that which all of St. Augustine is famous for) climbing up the porch!
The jail was finished in 1891 and was in operation until 1953. Today, it is a living history museum, where a prisoner trustee or perhaps one of the deputies will take you through this nationally-recognized historic building. They will tell you tales of life back in the late 1800s for the male and the female prisoners. If you are lucky, they might even sneak you into the office and the living quarters of Sheriff Joe Perry, which was connected to the jail itself. He lived there with his wife and two young children during his two terms as a St. John’s County Sheriff.
Explore the maximum security cells. Take a look from behind death row’s steel-barred window and see the gallows that awaited the men who built it themselves. You will learn some nifty-difty facts about how the number 13 got it’s unlucky start, where the term “bean hole” came from, and even see news article replicas of the 8 men that were hanged there.
Be sure to pose for a mug shot with the life-size cut-outs, and get a shot of you inside the Old Bird Cage, which was kept for those who committed small crimes back in the day.
The Old Jail in St Augustine FL is a great way for people old and young to learn some history and have a great time doing it! When you get out of jail, if you're in the mood for more suitable accommodations, stop by Casa de Solana Bed & Breakfast. We take MUCH better care of our guests!