We are open from Memorial Day through Labor day, and guided tours are available from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. Reminder: we are closed on Wednesdays, and open weekends in September and October.
Don't forget to check out our new book, "Ghosts of the Molly Maguires?", a collection of visitors' first-hand accounts of strange happenings in the Old Jail.
Ghost tours are available three Saturdays in October from 6:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. (last tour is at 9 p.m.) and tours begin every 20 minutes. Future dates wil be announced as the event gets closer.
Resembling a fortress standing guard over the town of Jim Thorpe (formerly known as Mauch Chunk), the historic Old Jail Museum is a beautiful two-story stone structure. Purchased in 1995 by Tom McBride and his wife, Betty Lou, of Jim Thorpe. Containing approximately 72 rooms, this magnificent structure shouts to all "Be good"! The building has 27 cells, plus basement dungeon cells used as solitary confinement until 1980, women's cells on the 2nd floor, and the warden's living quarters across the front of the building. The warden's apartment has a large living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms, and a sitting room. The kitchen for the prisoners was the same kitchen used by the warden's family. In fact, for many years the warden's wife did the cooking not only for her family but also for the prisoners using the same kitchen for both.
It is best known as the site of the hanging of seven Irish coal miners known as Molly Maguires in the 1800s. June 21, 1877, today known as the Day of the Rope, Alexander Campbell, Edward Kelly, Michael Doyle and John Donohue were hanged at the same time on gallows erected inside the Old Jail Museum cellblock. March 28, 1878, Thomas P. Fisher was hanged here, and on January 14, 1879, James McDonnell and Charles Sharp were hanged on the same gallows.
Historians today feel the Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty. A private corporation (a coal/railroad company) initiated an investigation through a private detective agency (Pinkerton Detectives), a private police force (the Coal & Iron Police) arrested the alleged offenders, and private attorneys (employees of the coal companies) prosecuted these men. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided only the courtroom and the gallows.
Before their hanging, the men proclaimed their innocence and today historians believe many of the condemned men were falsely accused of murder. Before his hanging one of the man, thought to be Alexander Campbell, put his hand on the dirty floor of his celland then placed it firmly on the wall proclaiming, " This handprint will remain as proof of my innocence." That handprint is visible today for everyone to view even though past wardens tried to eradicate it by washing it, painting it, and even taking down part of the wall and replastering it.
Do not pass Jim Thorpe, go directly to The Old Jail Museum!
Hear the story of the condemned Molly Maguires and see the mysterious handprint on the wall.
Wander the Old Jail's cold hallways, past Cell 17 with its mysterious handprint on the wall, under the gallows on which seven of the accused Molly Maguires were put to death, and down into the eerie dungeon.
Tours are offered Memorial day weekend through Labor day weekend, and we are open daily excluding Wednesdays. During September and October we are open weekends only, and are closed for the winter after November 1st. Our hours are from 12 noon and the last tour is given at 4:30 p.m.
Adults - $7
Students/Seniors over 65 - $6
Children 6-12 - $5
Children 5 & under - Free
*Tickets may be purchased with cash or credit
For the past 15 years that the jail has been opened for tours, we have been keeping a journal of unusual tales that we have heard from our visitors. We have had reports of disturbing feelings, odd smells, strange voices, slating floors, and shadowy images. The pictures in our gallery have been submitted by visitors who discovered the images on their cameras or printed pictures and sent them to us. In October, we host Ghost tours so you too can hear tales of actual ghostly encounters visitors have had.
Ghost tours are offered three Saturdays in October, and the specific dates will be announced as we near the event. Ghost tours will be given from 6:15 through the last tour at 9 p.m. Tours begin every 20 minutes. No children under 12, please.
Adult - $10
Student - $7
*This is not a haunted house. Sorry, no advanced tickets.
Resistance to the Civil War draft was widespread in the coal regions. Read about the methods used by the Union Army against the resisters. Was James McDonnell innocent of murder? Was he hanged because he was against the war and draft or because he was a Molly Maguire? Learn the facts from the actual trial transcripts. Be seated on the jury - what is your verdict? Guilty or innocent?
We have a variety of items to purchase including clothing, DVD's, books, and more at the Treasure Shop!
Jim Thorpe, PA
The Old Jail Museum
We had a film crew at the Old Jail Museum! They were making a short film "The Trial of Everett Mann" Mysteries at the Museum filmed an episode in the Old Jail a few weeks ago. Watch for it to air on TV in mid summer!
Visit jimthorpe.org to learn about the history of the town, find a few of our great local eateries, and book a stay in town for a lovely weekend vacation. There are a variety of attractions and events to explore in the historic town of Jim Thorpe, PA.