Thanks to the Wayne County Commissioners and the Wayne County Historical Society, the Old Stone Jail between 10th Street and the Wayne County court house in Honesdale, has become an attraction for visitors and residents alike. But in the beginning, 151 years ago, the jail was a brand new, supposedly impregnable, replacement for a lockup notorious for frequent escapes.
This year, once again under the aegis of "Sheriff" Dick Kreitner and his deputies, open houses on the first Saturday of every warm weather month, beginning on June 5, will allow visitors an opportunity to tour one of the county's most interesting historic buildings. The squat stone edifice built in 1859 housed Wayne County's miscreants until 1935. Built almost entirely of rough stone, its damp, gloomy interior has been compared to a dungeon.
Kreitner will be on hand with his volunteers to usher visitors into the nine by twelve foot cells as they tell the history of the jail and some of its more notorious occupants, including stories of the numerous jailbreaks, the 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 is free (donations welcome). Visitor access to the building is possible through the cooperation of the Wayne County Commissioners. Souvenir T-shirts, pamphlets on the history on the jail and accounts of the five hangings that took place in Wayne County are offered for sale. For more information contact the Wayne County Historical Society at (570) 253-3240, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.waynehistorypa.org. The main museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Saturday.
2010 open houses at the Old Stone Jail will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on the following June 5, July 3, August 7, September 4 and October 2.