The Old Nelson County Jail property housed prisoners from 1797 till 1987. The front building, sometimes referred to as the “Old Jail” was constructed in 1819. Records indicated that John Rogers, architect of St. Joseph Cathedral, performed certain carpentry on this structure. The upper floor of this native limestone building, with 30 inch thick walls, contained two cells and an “upstairs dungeon” to house prisoners.
The back jail was built in 1874 and is completely surrounded by a stone wall. The front jail was then made into the jailer’s residence. Both the jail and jailer’s residence were used and occupied until 1987. It was the oldest operating jail complex in the state of Kentucky and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
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