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.
Address:
18 Central Ave. E., Hampton, IA
Directions:
East side of downtown, on the north side of Hwy 3/Central Ave. E., just west of 1st St. NE.
Hours:
By appt. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
714-559-0748
Admission:
Admission
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Visitor Tips and News About Franklin County Historic Jail

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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.


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In the region:
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