The Old Jail

jailThis post is part of a
larger series about
old Florida tourist sites.

I grew up down there,
and I do have a
strange attraction
to these
strange attractions.

You can see
much more
The Authentic Old Jail St. Augustine here.
And here.

as they repeatedly used
to say in the Florida
tourist business,
bring your camera!)

Riding back and fortha1
from Florida when I
was a kid was a long,
tedious adventure–

–visiting relatives in
Philadelphia or Virginia
required one to ride along
mostly two lane roads —

The Florida Turnpike would
only get you
to around Fort Pierce,
and then it was east
and north to U.S. 1oldjail
and eventually,
U.S. 301 —

Man, sitting in the back seat
of a non-air-conditioned
1962 Corvair for that trip
gives new meaning to the

Around 1970, most of I-95
in Florida was open —
except for a huge gap
between Fort Pierce
and West Palm Beach,
(which was mostly for
the pecuniary benefit
of the Turnpike Authority)
— which didn’t open
until the mid 1980’s.

I do remember a sign

that used to creep me
out everytime I passed it,
up on I-95 near St. Augustine —
– for something called the “Old Jail “.

It’s still there,

The Bird Cage, at the Old Jail St. Augustineactually,

(not the sign, but the jail)

although it looks very different
from when I got to visit it
first in the late 1960’s.

I can’t say I really liked
the place all that much
on that trip —

but it certainly was very
representative of the
weirdness of Florida
tourist traps of the period.

drunkdunkAnd it was only a block or two
from another odd site in
Florida’s First City —
the “Fountain of Youth”.

So, we parked and walked.
Now, you’d take the
tourist ‘trolley’.

( Ok, it ain’t all that bad…gallows
— I liked it in Key West.)

as I was saying….
Weird, weird, weird.

I’m really not sure how
these relics from the
dark ages of correctional
history add up to scenic
entertainment exactly,

— but they included:gang

a gallows that could
accomodate up to
three men (no waiting!) ,

a large ‘bird cage’ used
for solitary exposure in
the hot, Florida sun,

a statue of a chain gangmooon
at work,

old jail cells,

a pillory,

a whipping post,

and other such ephemera.

Funn ferr the whole

And of course, the place
is also supposed to be haunted…

which basically means
that you can pay your
admission to see the joint
in the daytime,

— and then come back
and pay your admission
again at night as part
of a ‘ghost tour’.

scary, kids.

Oh well, maybe they’ll
give you the ‘true believer’
discount, I dunno.

HOY !!!!



10 thoughts on “The Old Jail

  1. dievca says:

    Ummm, yuck~ Made that trek a lot in the 1990’s — didn’t see it, glad I didn’t see it.

  2. little one says:

    St Augustine?

  3. tieme8 says:

    The gallows still stand in the town where my grandmother lived. There was recently a court battle over the remains of the last noose used: does it belong to the sheriff’s family or the family of the one it was used on?

  4. ktz2 says:

    If y’all were riding in a Corvair you’re lucky if it didn’t catch fire, as they were sometimes inclined to do

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