Things To Do In St. Augustine: Old Jail
Visiting St. Augustine, Florida was one of the main things I needed to cross off my Summer To Do List. With Labor Day Weekend and my husbands birthday falling around the same time, this past weekend was the perfect opportunity to go. The city seemed to encompass many things that my guy loves - history, boats, pirates and ghosts - I just knew he was going to have an absolute blast in Americas oldest city.
On our second day of the trip, we decided to visit the Old Jail and also visited again that night as part of the Ghosts And Graveyards tour. If you can also do both, it's totally worth it! Going during the day and then at night, are two totally different experiences. There's no ghost talk during the day time - it's more of a history lesson - so if you're not into ghosts, I'd still recommend a visit. The first thing I thought when we got there was "Wow! This jail is kinda pretty". As it turns out, Flager did not want the jail to disrupt the beauty of St. Augustine, even the jail had to appease the eye. The inside however is a different story as it was constructed by the same people who built Alcatraz.
Another interesting fact about this place, it also doubled as the home for Sheriff Perry and his family. I understand not wanting to commute to work, but having my family in such close proximity as murderers and all around dangerous human beings doesn't seem like the right wave to be on. Could you imagine coming home from school and there are prisoners being processed in your yard or someone is hanging from a noose? The girls bedrooms were right across the hall from the prison cells where they could hear the men in the night.
One of my running jokes with my friends is that "...going to jail is not on my list of things to do", it's just not. At the Old Jail I got a chance to go in one of the women's cells which was dark and quite eerie. I can't fathom being in such small quarters with no bathroom and having to bathe in a pool of water that has settled after approximately 100 male prisoners cleansed themselves in it earlier. We were told that most crimes by women were pardoned and they'd be sent home to their fathers or husbands to be dealt with. However, for women who were murders and such, they'd land in jail for 3 to 5 years. Their main task in jail was waking up at around 3am each morning to start breakfast. They referred to the kitchen as the torture chamber. The women cooked three meals per day for the male prisoners as well as the Sheriff and his family. The kitchen would reach temperatures of around 100 degrees as the women worked in the heavy dresses they were assigned to wear back then. They were also monitored by guards to make sure that they didn't try anything slick like trying to poison the Sheriff. Between the (lack of) sanitary conditions, cooking all those meals in the heat and averaging only 3 hours of sleep per night, jail wouldn't have been on my list of things to do back then either.
The Old Jail is said to be the most haunted place in St. Augustine. Because my husband spends a ridiculous amount of time watching Ghost Hunters, I stepped all the way out of my comfort zone and booked a ghost tour because I knew he'd love it. At around midnight, we returned to jail after some paranormal activity by the Lighthouse. The guys from Ghost Hunters have also visited the Light House and had some strange experiences there. Stepping foot in this place again, I was already freaked out and knew that my husband was going to continue having these experiences. When we initially visited during the day he started feelings light headed which immediately let me know that this place was going to be full of ghosts. During the night time visit, he photographed a few entities at the Old Jail. He actually caught an apparition on his iPhone on the grounds of the Lighthouse. The whole thing was too much for me - ugh, the things we do for people we love. I don't think my blog is the place to share all of his photographic evidence, but I can confirm that this place is haunted in addition to quite a few other places in this 450 year old town.
In all, The Old Jail was a lot of fun, both during the day and then again at night as part of the Ghosts And Graveyards Tour. I'd definitely recommend it as a place that you must visit when you go to St. Augustine. I want to write a whole post just about how much I love that place. I can't wait to share more posts about the fun things that we did.