175 East King Street in Chambersburg, PA
The jail was built in 1818 and survived the burning of Chambersburg by the Confederate Forces in 1864. This building of Georgian design is one of the oldest in Chambersburg and was placed on the State and National Register of Historical sites in 1970.
During more than 150 years of use as a prison, The Old Jail housed numerous local criminals, including “Lewis the Robber,” and Captain John Cook, one of John Brown’s men who was captured after the unsuccessful raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The cellar contains five domed dungeons with rings in the walls and floors that were used to shackle recalcitrant prisoners. Tradition suggests that these cells were also used as a way-station on the “Underground” railway to shelter runaway slaves enroute to freedom in the north.
The Old Jail complex consists of the original building erected in 1818, an annex built in 1880 and a yard enclosed by a 20-foot high limestone wall.
Several rooms of the original jail and part of the newer cell block comprise a museum of historical artifacts from Franklin County. The visitor experiences the story of the jail through interpretation and learns of the history of crime and punishment in the Cumberland Valley.
May – October
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
November – April
Thursday – Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
We recommend calling (717-264-1667) to ensure a docent is available to guide you through the Old Jail. Please note that our last tour starts at 3 pm.
FCHS-K Members: Free
Children over 6: $4
Combo (John Brown House & Old Jail): $7
Group tours are by appointment (717-264-1667).