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The Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail

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Address: 10 Ashby St, County House Square, Warrenton, VA 20186
Phone Number: +1 540-347-5525
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closed now
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Wed - Mon 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Built in 1808, the front portion of the jail originally contained four...

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 1823. 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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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    Very good
  • 4
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A slice of local history

If you are in the area, have an interest in local history, and have 30-45 minutes to kill, this small museum is worth a visit. It's not extensive, and it's very eclectic (from... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago
Washington, DC

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42 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 42: English reviews
Level Contributor
39 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

The jails have been well maintained but have updated beyond resemblance of the their roots. The exterior gives a true sense of the era and the newer jail still has the hanging platform in the yard. There is no need for a guided tour as it shouldn't take more than thirty minutes to properly tour both jails. Any questions you... More 

Thank Christina S
MaggieLovitt, Manager at The Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail, responded to this review

You are right, it is difficult to portray an entire county's history in buildings that have been updated since they were built. Our museum is not solely about jail history, as is reflected in the name - The Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail. Thank you for visiting! More 

Washington, DC
Level Contributor
37 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

If you are in the area, have an interest in local history, and have 30-45 minutes to kill, this small museum is worth a visit. It's not extensive, and it's very eclectic (from Native American to the most recent sheriff's election), but it gives you a good sense of what the town considers its history, For $2, that's a worthwhile... More 

Thank JK4321
Gainesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
391 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2016 via mobile

We were walking around old town and decided to swing in. The $2 admission for adults is more than reasonable to check out on some local history. The original jail is pretty cool and has a lot of local history items and the staff did a great job of giving us a little bit more background. The "newer" jail is... More 

Thank Foreman212
Gettysburg, PA
Level Contributor
55 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2016 via mobile

This museum is so cool . Lots of fun to check out and they have a nice little shop. The criminal history of the area was quite iinteresting. The kids will love it!

Thank Bennysgoats
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2016 via mobile

My parents live in Warrenton so I have visited a few times over the years. It has what you would expect from a small and pleasant, volunteer-operated county museum with the jail to give it a unique edge. Visiting the yard where the gallows used to be and looking into the the old cells is a little creepy, especially with... More 

Thank Jeff S
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2016 via mobile

Definitely enjoyed this one. Cool artifacts, very welcoming staff, it was surprisingly good. It makes me grateful of being alive now and not 100 years ago. And being in jail back then must have sucked big time. Definitely worth the time to visit.

Thank AndyInDCVA
Level Contributor
239 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2016

Sure, it's not the Smithsonian, but it does give a taste of local history. The old jail setting is interesting, but there are a few genuine interesting artifacts that give a taste of just what a real contribution the folks in and around Warrenton made to make this country proud. Admission price is kept artificially low because of local support.... More 

Thank ProfessorCharles
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2016

I was happily surprised at how great this pair of jails and the exhibits inside are. Many items can be (gently) handled including century(-ies) old kitchen tools, drawers full of more exhibits and the jail doors themselves. Also really cheap ($3/adult and $2/child, free under 10 IIRC) Exhibits on arrowheads from the area, civil war hospital tent, John Mosby, and... More 

Thank Damon F
Warrenton, Virginia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2016 via mobile

Many small town museums are located in modern buildings or older (maybe historic) houses. This one is in the town jail which dates from the early 1800's. Its a stone and brick building which still has some original cells, and a central courtyard where executions took place into the 20th century. It's a good place for Civil War buffs as... More 

Thank Steve M
Leesburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2016

This jail is one of the oldest in the country. It was fascinating to go through and learn so much. Be sure to allow a couple hours to read a lot.

Thank Jan H

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