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Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts)

Barnstable's Old Gaol is a historic colonial jail on 3353 Main Street/Massachusetts Route 6A in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Built c.1690, it is the oldest wooden jail in the United States of America.

Old Jail
Old Jail Barnstable MA 2014.jpg
Old Jail in 2014
Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts) is located in Cape Cod
Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts)
Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts) is located in Massachusetts
Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts)
Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts) is located in the United States
Old Jail (Barnstable, Massachusetts)
LocationBarnstable, Massachusetts
Coordinates41°42′0″N 70°17′56″W / 41.70000°N 70.29889°W / 41.70000; -70.29889Coordinates: 41°42′0″N 70°17′56″W / 41.70000°N 70.29889°W / 41.70000; -70.29889
Architectural styleColonial
Part ofOld King's Highway Historic District (#87000314)
NRHP reference #71000078[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 2, 1971
Designated CPMarch 12, 1987

The jail was built by order of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colony courts. It served as the Barnstable County jail until c.1820, when a new stone jail was built. The structure, which held about six prisoners, was eventually attached to a barn. In 1968 it was rediscovered, separated from the barn, and moved 100 feet onto the grounds of the Coast Guard Heritage Museum (located in the old Customshouse building) in Barnstable Village.[2]

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971,[1] and included in the Old King's Highway Historic District in 1987.[3]

In 1716, the jail imprisoned Goody Hallett, the lover of pirate Samuel Bellamy, later known as the Witch of Wellfleet, as well as the two survivors of Sam Bellamy's flagship Whydah Gally which wrecked at Wellfleet, and the seven survivors of his consort ship Mary Anne which wrecked ten miles south at Pochet Island.[4] The jail house is considered one of the most haunted in America[5] and is open to ghost tours at certain times of the year. It is believed to be haunted by Goody Hallett, who is said to also haunt the Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown, as well as Lucifer Land (also called Goody Hallett's Meadow)[6] which is a reference to the area of land at the top of the Wellfleet cliffs.

Oldest wooden jail in America in Barnstable

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "The Old Jail". Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society. Retrieved 2014-05-04.
  3. ^ "MACRIS inventory record for Old Jail". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2014-05-04.
  4. ^ Whydah Pirate Museum, Project Historian Kenneth J Kinkor & Historian Dr. Jim Cunningham
  5. ^ "Haunted Cape Cod".
  6. ^ Reynard, Elizabeth (1st Edition1934, 2nd Edition 1962). THE NARROW LAND. Chatham Historical Society. Check date values in: |year= (help)

External linksEdit

The old goal