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December 11 2009

Press Release: 150th Anniversary of Old Stone Jail Celebrated


New Wayne County Preservation Heritage sign

Dick Kreitner greets visitors at jail entrance

WCHS Executive Director Sally Talaga and Richard Kreitner prepare to unveil the new sign

Interior of Jail

Cake (by Sweet Eden)

Commissioner Tony Herzog samples the punch

On Saturday, June 6, the Wayne County Commissioners and Wayne County Historical Society celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Old Stone Jail between 10th St. and the Wayne County court house. Cake and punch were served to all comers, and the first in a new series of Wayne County Preservation Heritage signs was unveiled by WCHS Executive Director and Richard Kreitner, chair of the Old Stone Jail Committee. Kreitner, without whom the jail would not have been preserved, was honored for his preservation efforts and his role on making the jail a tourist destination.

The signage program is under development, and details will be released soon.

Built in 1859, the squat stone edifice housed Wayne County's miscreants until 1935. Constructed almost entirely of rough stone, its damp, gloomy interior has been most often compared to a dungeon. "Jailer" Dick Kreitner is on hand on one Saturday a month during warm weather to usher visitors into the nine by twelve foot cells as he relates the history of the jail and some of its more notorious occupants. He and his "deputies" recount the stories of the numerous jailbreaks, hangings and even the birth of a baby girl within its somber walls. During the early history of the jail men, women and even children endured the dismal accommodations.

Admission to the jail is free (donations welcome). Visitor access to the building is possible through the cooperation of the Wayne County Commissioners. Souvenir T-shirts, books, pamphlets on the history of the jail and accounts of the five hangings that took place in Wayne County are offered for sale. Open houses for the rest of the warm weather months are from 10 am to 1 pm on July 4, August 1, September 5 and October 3. For more information please call the Wayne County Historical Society at (570) 253-3240 or visit their website at www.waynehistorypa.org.