Old Stone Jail Museum
Old Stone Jail Museum
The Old Stone Jail was built in 1828. It was designed by General John Hartwell Cocke of Bremo. There are three rooms on each floor, with each center room for the jailer's use and the room on each side was used to house the prisoners. In later years the center room upstairs was converted to a cell. Cocke designed "door frames of bar iron, doors of white oak plank (later covered with metal) and locks of 'first quality, not less than $8 each'. The windows are barred with interlaced straps of iron." After 1950 when the old building was no longer used as a jail, a group of towns people started the project to turn the jail into a museum. The first displays were opened to the public in 1957. It was opened permanently in 1963.
Today, enter into the museum and view a different display theme in each of the rooms. There are five exhibit rooms. The first room you enter is the center room on the mail floor. It provides and introduction to Fluvanna County history. Also on the main floor is the Patriots Room dedicated to Fluvanna residents who served in war ranging from the Revolutionary War to World War II. On the other side is the room dedicated to General Cocke and his family at Bremo. He was a man who was opposed to slavery and defied the law by building a church and school for slaves. He also started a temperance movement.
The second floor has two exhibit rooms. The center room has an exhibit that changes each year. At the time we visited the display was devoted to the average woman setting up a household. There were many of the household items of the 1800's and early 1900's displayed. The other exhibit is on farming and industry of the area. Early 20th century industry in the area included tomato canneries and tomatoes grew in the area so well. This room also has a cage that was installed for inmates that were considered insane, violent, or deranged.
The building exterior has not been changed in any way except for the glass in the windows. You will see the two foot thick walls from the inside. This however was never a secure jail. There were many escapes. The museum still uses one of the two original keys on the front door.
The jail was pretty cool. There was an egg cooker there and a waffle iron. There was a spice chest too. There were several old kitchen gadgets to see in one of the exhibit rooms. In the first room there were post office boxes. Upstairs in one if the rooms they had a cage. In the cage they stuck insane people, violent people, and the deranged.
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