Submitted by Hitty Gale
I was born in Naples Florida but I doubt if my carver, Gale Lyons, ever imagined that one day I would find myself in jail. Rest assured, it was not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it was quite fun!
The Old Jail in St Augustine, Florida was built by Henry Flagler to resemble a fine hotel. The Queen Anne style stucco on brick building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and is the oldest government building in St John’s County. It is one of the few surviving jails still standing in the state.
Finished in 1891, it housed prisoners for over sixty years. The original cells could house 72 inmates—men or women. The facility includes the sheriff’s quarters where he lived with his family and had his office.
A life size replica of one of the most feared sheriff’s in the south, Joe Perry, sits on a bench in front of the jail and another guards the cell block and speaks to you from a raised platform. He was a big man and when he spoke, I listened.
At the end of our short stay, we received a pardon. My visit at the Old Jail is complete. Believe me, I was happy to step outside into the sunshine! You can learn more about visiting St Augustine at http://www.augustine.com/