One last spooky gasp at the Old Jail

Published 6:10 pm Thursday, October 27, 2022

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It’s time for All Hallows’ Eve – the season of haunts, goblins and witches. Halloween will be made just that much spookier as the doors of the historic Old Jail in Tazewell creak open on rusty hinges inviting all those brave souls to enter.

The Claiborne County Historical & Genealogical Society will hold its last tours for this year on Oct. 29 -30. The two-day event will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

In conjunction with the Trick or Treat on Main St. event, sponsored each year by the Tazewell Police Department, the Society decided to hold its inaugural Trick or Treat at the Old Jail on Oct. 31.

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The structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the oldest free-standing and the third-oldest one of its kind across the country.

The Old Jail had quite the remarkable and scary past during its heyday between1819 and 1931.

The ‘hanging doors’ drew many a crowd back in the day. Folks packed a picnic lunch in anticipation of an exciting event as they traveled from communities near and far to witness the end of the scallywag awaiting his doom.

Families and friends excitedly discussed the goings on of the day as they kept one eye on the hanging doors.

The bullpen door swung open at the appointed time and the convicted took the few steps to the hanging doors for his public execution. Witnesses to the hanging would spend the next days and weeks, sometimes months to years, retelling what they saw.

The full tour is sure to tickle your scary bone as knowledgeable guides walk you through the structure as they tell the tales of old.

For more information, call 423-526-5737 or email your questions to: