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1812 Jail

Owned by Lincoln County Historical Association. The jail was built in 1809-11 and was considered, at the time, to be humanitarian as it had separate cells and windows (slits). There was no heat until late in the 19th century. It was the third jail in town and the first building in Maine to be built for the safekeeping of criminals. Until the state prison in Thomaston was established, the Old Jail was used for the confinement of many notorious felons.

The granite slabs used in its construction were from Edgecomb quarries and are 41 inches thick at the foundation and 30 inches at the eaves.

These great stones also form the ceilings of the cells. There are six cells on each of the two floors. The third story had quarters for debtors who were allowed out during the day to earn money, but had to return at night. There was a large room used for a work area.

In the 1920s, it provided holding cells for prisoners appearing in the nearby courthouse. In 1954, it was turned over to the Lincoln County Historic Association, provided the group maintained it as a museum and opened it to the public in the summer.

The Jailer’s House burned and was rebuilt in 1837. The jailer’s wife provided food for the prisoners and their diet depended upon her generosity and thriftiness. The kitchen has a large hearth and a beehive oven, and the barn has a wonderful collection of old tools.

The old jail is located on upper Federal Street.

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