Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania: Old Jail Museum

Lots of ghosts. See gallows, nooses, and the cell with the hand print of the hanged man that cannot be removed! "Executions" Historical marker out front.

128 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA
Exit NE Ext. of turnpike (476) and turn North (right) to Lehighton.
Summer daily 12-4:30. Sep.-Oct. Sa-Su only. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $10.
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Visitor Tips and News About Old Jail Museum

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Jim Thorpe Old Jail.

Old Jail Museum

Crowded little tourist town of Jim Thorpe, but absolutely beautiful.

[Rose Howe, 09/25/2021]

Old Jail.

Old Jail Museum

After touring the Old Jail Museum you'll be glad that today's prisons are better (I hope!). You can't take photos or see the handprint up close anymore -- apparently it's becoming too faded. The tour was fine, but too many people made it a tight fit. I recommend maybe going on the last one of the day...? We had about 20 on their opening hour. Reservations not needed. About 40 minutes and $10 pp. Free parking up behind the jail itself.

[Randy Hoopes, 09/17/2020]

Old Jail.

Old Jail Museum

Don't miss the kitchen, warden quarters, women cells, and the gift shop. It is amazing to hear the history and that the jail was operating well into the 1980s. There are many photo opps, including the chance for your family to be photographed behind bars! The dungeon is especially fascinating. You can walk into most of the cells and see the furniture and props.

The hanging area is a little rattling for some. My kids ages 8, 11, and 12 found it interesting, and were not scared. Bring a flash camera to capture "orbs."

[Susan W, 08/16/2011]

The Old Jail.

Old Jail Museum

My wife and I were traveling through eastern PA when we happened to find ourselves in Jim Thorpe, PA. Instantly falling in love with the town, we were lucky to find a vacancy right in a B&B right on the main street. What to do on a Saturday night over the Halloween weekend in a strange town? Why, visit the ghost tour of the Old County Jail, of course!

They conduct a kitschy and low impact tour of the grounds guided by high school kids (most likely from the high school drama department), telling scary stories and lots and lots of waiting for the group before you move on. This waiting gives the more inquisitive visitor time to explore the rooms. They have almost all the lights off, so having a tiny key chain flashlight really helped out. as we peeked in closets and drawers. You can also really annoy the "believers" by making jokes about ghosts and making odd sounds. Hey, when the one guy said he was a "professional skeptic" I just HAD to ask where you get a degree in skepticism!

Overall it's an interesting journey and the amateur tour (which is not too bad) aside, from looking at how men and women where imprisoned here, is really something. The basement dungeon is especially poignant. To see where people were kept alone in tiny cells is touching. Oh, and while the guides are talking be sure to slip into one of the darker ones. Then, when people begin to poke around after the speeches just wait for someone to peek in. Then? bwahahahahahaha!

[Ron Lutz II, 11/09/2006]
Old Jail Museum

This jail was opened in 1871. During that decade, seven men where hanged inside the jail, accused of being Molly Maguires. The Molly Maguires was a secret organization, composed mainly of Irish Catholics, that started one of the first labor movements in the country. Since the Irish were not well regarded by many facets of society at the time, one of the only jobs they could get was working in the coal mines. It was slave-labor since they only got pennies for their long hours, bought all their own work equipment from the bosses, had to pay rent to the coal bosses who owned their houses, and could only shop at the coal bosses' town store.

The Molly Maguires were found guilty of murdering coal management and vandalizing the mines and mining equipment.

The jail closed in January 1995. It is currently opened as a museum and the handprint of Alec Campell, accused Molly Maguire, is still visible in cell 17 despite numerous attempts to remove it.

The museum is only open from Memorial Day Weekend through October. Closed Wednesdays. I think there are tours every 30 minutes.

[Jennifer Wayne, 07/19/2003]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Jim Thorpe's Tourist Attraction GraveJim Thorpe's Tourist Attraction Grave, Jim Thorpe, PA - 2 mi.
Stinson the DinosaurStinson the Dinosaur, Lehighton, PA - 5 mi.
World's Largest General StoreWorld's Largest General Store, Lehighton, PA - 8 mi.
In the region:
Liberty Bell Museum, Allentown, PA - 23 mi.

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