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Historic 1892 Jail

Chesterfield's historic "Old Jail", pictured, is one of the metropolitan area's surviving jails and was completed in 1892.  The 1892 jail, now commonly referred to as "the Old Jail", could hold up to 24 prisoners whose meals were prepared by the sheriff and his family.  The building was seldom used in the 20th century until 1936, when crime became an issue in the county.  There are accounts of an escape through the roof which prompted the cell ceilings to be replaced with steel plate, and an incident when a prisoner was killed when he attempted an escape while being transferred to court.  The structure has seen many uses and changes since 1892, however, the upper portion still maintains the cell structure as it existed in 1892.  You are encouraged to tour the historic sites and buildings on the Chesterfield Courthouse green.


Eventually the building became home for the Chesterfield County Police Department and, later, the Fire Department. It was designated a museum in 1982. The Old Jail is open for tours which begin at the County Museum next door.  The current exhibit highlights the histories of the police and sheriff departments and presents a memorial wall for fallen police officers. See the link below to view a presentation on the jail before and during restoration. The County Museum houses permanent and rotating exhibits pertaining to the history of Chesterfield County.  Donations of $2 for the Museum and $1 for the Old Jail are appreciated. Hours are 10 to 4 Tuesday through Friday and 10 to 2 on Saturday.


1892 Old Jail 

1892 Historic Old Jail c. 1924

1892 Historic Jail

Historic 1892 Jail

An unusual building constructed from large granite blocks of a previous jail.  The "Old Jail" was completed in 1892 using materials from the condemned 1842 jail  that had been ordered unfit for use in 1890. The earlier 1842 jail had been a one story, granite structure on the site known originally as "Coldwater Run" It had only four rooms.  It was commonly referred to as the "Bastille. 


Once this jail became inhabitable, the 1892 jail was built at its new location directly behind the 1749 Courthouse.  It has been used by different organizations within the Chesterfield County Goverment.  It currently is being used a an addition to the Chesterfield Museum and is open for tours and exhibits.


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The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia Headquarters and research library has moved into the old historic Trinity Church .  See the news media information.  Please contact us:  (804)796-7121.  Hours of Operation:  Monday-Friday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

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