Benton, Illinois: Charlie Birger Gallows and George Harrison Artifacts

Charlie was executed in a public hanging in Illinois in 1928. George visited Benton in 1963, and got the radio station to play a record by a strange new group named The Beatles.

Franklin County Jail Museum

209 W. Main St., Benton, IL
Franklin County Jail Museum. One-half mile off I-57 on Hwy 14 in Benton. Maple St. and Hwy 14.
W-Sa 10-3 (Call to verify)
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights
Benton, Illinois - Two Gallows, One Beatle: Good Times At The Old Jail
Charlie Birger Gallows and George Harrison Artifacts: "It was one of the top ten days of my life," said Bob Rea, president of the Franklin County Historical Preservation Society in Benton, Illinois. He was referring to May 4, 2013, the day that he first laid eyes on the gallows that hanged Charlie Birger. [05/24/2013] Complete Story...

Visitor Tips and News About Charlie Birger Gallows and George Harrison Artifacts

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Replica gallows.

Gallows Replica

The museum exhibits a replica of the gallows used in the last public hanging in Illinois.

[GVPmom, 10/06/2014]

Chain link fencing helps prevent the gallows-loving public from harming itself.

Ku Klux Klan cell.

Franklin County Jail Museum

This place is amazing. and it is just a few bucks to get in. Outside of the jail/museum is a replica gallows on the same spot where gangster Charlie Birger was hanged. Inside there are many great displays on Charlie, and other notable people from the area. There is a very cool and weird display on George Harrison, who visited the area just before his bandmates in the Beatles came to America!

The museum is inside of the old jail, and much of it has been left beautifully unrestored -- and the museum has recently added the original Birger gallows to its collection! Make sure you spend some time in the gift shop as they have postcards available showing Charlie on the gallows!

[Jimerado, 10/26/2013]
Gallows That Hanged Charlie Birger

Charlie Birger was hanged April 19, 1928 at the Franklin County Jail in Benton. He was the last man to be executed in a public hanging in Illinois. A replica gallows is on display at the Jail.

At the same location is a WFRX Radio Room where George Harrison interviewed, as well as Civil War memorabilia.

[Mandi G., 07/28/2009]

Visitors can see Charlie's cell, the barred window from which he watched them build his gallows, and the replica gallows itself. George Harrison was in Benton in 1963, before he became a superstar, because his sister lived in town. The radio station in Benton was among the first in America to play a Beatles record.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Franklin County Garage MuseumFranklin County Garage Museum, Benton, IL - < 1 mi.
Marker: First Beatle in AmericaMarker: First Beatle in America, Benton, IL - < 1 mi.
Pose with Stovepipe Hat AbePose with Stovepipe Hat Abe, Mount Vernon, IL - 22 mi.
In the region:
Super Museum, Metropolis, IL - 59 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

November 12, 2018

My Sights

My Sights

Save Cool Vacation Destinations!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Illinois Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

National Videogame Museum, Frisco, Texas (Nov 12-18, 2018)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Nearby Hotels and Motels, Benton, Illinois

Nightly rates found:

Find Hotels Near:

Book Online Now