Hampton, Iowa: Franklin County Historic Jail

"Spend an hour, or a day, or a week in a real jail." Yes, you can be locked up as long as you like in a 19th century slammer. It closed in 1988, and was reopened for role-playing jailbirds in 2016.

18 Central Ave. E., Hampton, IA
East side of downtown, on the north side of Hwy 3/Central Ave. E., just west of 1st St. NE.
By appt. (Call to verify)
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Franklin County Historic Jail

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

Franklin County Historic Jail

July 2020, it has been turned into a gorgeous residence. "No Jail Business," a sign says. But they kept some of the integrity of the jail as it still has the outdoor fenced in area. Very classy. Still worth a stop.

[Heidi Wolfe, 07/06/2020]

They've closed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps functioning as a private residence in the interim. But the official website hasn't been removed; we're hoping it will return as an attraction in the future.

Jail time for Stan.

Franklin County Historic Jail

I spent four days in Franklin County Historic Jail. I had a great time! The staff are friendly and informative. I love the history and the chance to experience being in jail without getting in trouble!

[Stan Dunn, 05/28/2017]

Jail hall.

Franklin County Historic Jail

The county jail and attached Sheriff's house were built in 1880. It was the last "Mom and Pop" jail to close in Iowa; that was in 1988. Soon it will be an attraction [scheduled to open July 1, 2016] where people can go and experience what it would be like to go to jail during the period that this jail was operational. Guests can role-play and become inmates for a few hours or a few days in a realistic historic role-playing experience.

The jail features a functioning J. Pauly lever lock. This invention of 1884 was the first concept in locking multiple cells at one time. Ghost adventures are also offered at the jail.

I am the owner of the building.

[Mark Gudmundsen, 04/28/2016]

We're not sure how many tourists would want to spend a few days locked in a 19th century jail cell, but it's nice that the option is now available.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Peter Toth Big Indian HeadPeter Toth Big Indian Head, Iowa Falls, IA - 16 mi.
Raging Thunder the BullRaging Thunder the Bull, Ackley, IA - 15 mi.
Large Ice Cream ConeLarge Ice Cream Cone, Ackley, IA - 15 mi.
In the region:
Fish - World's Largest Bullhead, Crystal Lake, IA - 45 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.

My Sights

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Iowa Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Hot Dog Muffler Man, Atlanta, Illinois (Jan 25-31, 2021)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now