Built in 1808, the front portion of the jail originally contained four cells, each of which was approved to house 40 prisoners. In 1823, after only 15 years of use, the 1808 jail was deemed insufficient and a new stone jail was built just to the rear of the older structure. The 1808 jail was then converted into a house for the jailor with a kitchen made of the leftover stones from the "New Jail" added in 1824. The rear structure contains original cells as well as an exercise yard, which was also used as a hanging yard. Hangings took place in the yard until 1896. This is one of the most perfectly preserved old jails in the Commonwealth, and was operated as a jail until 1966.
Today, the Old Jail is a history museum focusing on the histories of the Town of Warrenton, Fauquier County, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The artifacts that make up the museum's exhibitions have all been donated by generous local citizens.
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