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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Augustine in Saint Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Old St. Johns County Jail

 
 
The Old St. Johns County Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, December 10, 2014
1. The Old St. Johns County Jail Marker
Inscription.
Built in 1891, the St. Johns County Jail held prisoners until 1953. The previous county jail was located next to the Hotel Ponce de Leon in downtown St. Augustine, Florida. Henry Morrison Flagler (1830-1913), co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, founder of the Florida East Coast Railroad and major real estate developer, donated $10,000 towards construction of this new jail. It is the oldest surviving government building in St. Johns County. The architecture is Romanesque Revival with elements of Queen Anne Victorian. It was constructed by the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, which would later build Alcatraz prison in California along with several other jails throughout North America. Up to 72 inmates could be housed in the building along with living quarters for the sheriff and his family. The conditions were primitive for most of its history with up to four inmates in a cell, no indoor plumbing until 1914 and open barred windows. When the last inmates were transferred out in 1953, the old jail building became a tourist attraction recreating what life was like for prisoners at the turn of the century.
 
Erected 2004 by Florida Heritage Site sponsored by the Old Jail, Inc. and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-521.)
 
Location.
The Old St. Johns County Jail Marker (<i>tall view<./i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, December 10, 2014
2. The Old St. Johns County Jail Marker (tall view<./i>)
29° 54.479′ N, 81° 19.125′ W. Marker is in St. Augustine, Florida, in Saint Johns County. Marker can be reached from San Marco Avenue (Business U.S. 1) 0.1 miles south of May Street (State Road A1A), on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker located at the northeast corner of the Old Jail building on the grounds of the Old Jail Museum complex. Marker is at or near this postal address: 167 San Marco Avenue, Saint Augustine FL 32084, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The 1910 Mary Peck House (within shouting distance of this marker); Spreading the Wealth Since 1900 (within shouting distance of this marker); Chain Gangs (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Gault Street (about 500 feet away); Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (about 800 feet away); First Spanish Muster Site in Florida (about 800 feet away); Nelmar Terrace Historic District (approx. mile away); Mission Nombre de Dios (approx. mile away). Click for a list of all markers in St. Augustine.
 
Also see . . .
1. Old St. Johns County Jail.
Built by Henry Flagler in 1891 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, the Old Jail served as the St Johns County Jail until 1953. Maximum Security housed the most dangerous prisoners held at the Jail and includes a Death Row cell, for those condemned to die. A total of
The Old St. Johns County Jail (<i>north end view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, December 10, 2014
3. The Old St. Johns County Jail (north end view)

Historical marker is visible in lower left corner.
8 men were hung from the Gallows on the Jail compound during its history. Overall conditions at the Jail for those serving varying sentences were quite poor by modern standards and prisoners were typically used as free farm labourers during the day. (Submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. The Old Jail, St. Augustine, Florida.
The jail has a restored gallows and a "birdcage" cell that makes a nice photo-op. Inside, the highlight of the tour is an animatronic sheriff Joe Perry, who gives a short speech from atop the maximum security cell block, holding a hangman's rope. (Submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Sheriff Joe Perry: Law Enforcement In The 1800′s.
Standing at 66″ and 300lbs., Perry was big enough and man enough to bring in the baddest of the bad. He thought nothing of traveling deep into Alabama swampland to capture a wanted suspect. Sheriff Perry served split terms, for a total of 26 years (1889-1897 and 1901-1919). He died at the age of 56 while still in office. He was known as an expert in firearms, and he accompanied his deputies on even the most dangerous calls. (Submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

4. Sheriffs of the 20th Century.
Although Sheriff Joe Perry served split terms, he was the longest serving Sheriff of our county's history, having been elected
The Old St. Johns County Jail (<i>front center view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, December 10, 2014
4. The Old St. Johns County Jail (front center view)
and reelected seven times, for a total of 26 years as Sheriff. Before becoming Sheriff he served as deputy sheriff in Putnam county and in St. Johns County under Sheriff Floyd. By (Submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
The Old St. Johns County Jail (<i>south end view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, December 10, 2014
5. The Old St. Johns County Jail (south end view)

Statue of Sheriff Joe Perry (sitting on the bench) can be seen in the foreground.
Sheriff Joe Perry Statue image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, December 10, 2014
6. Sheriff Joe Perry Statue
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 398 times since then and 44 times this year. Last updated on , by Jamie Cox of Melbourne, Florida. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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