Windham County Jail Building

When the County Sheriff’s Department moved its offices from Newfane to Brattleboro last year, the 1825 County Jail building was left vacant for the first time in close to 200 years. Deed restrictions, dating back to 1824 when the land was donated to the County, prohibit any commercial use on the property, and a court ruling in 1971 reinforced “that the uses to be made of the said jail building shall benefit the inhabitants of Windham County.”  The Historical Society of Windham selectively fulfilled those requirements, and will now be the occupant of the historic building. Repurposing the former Windham County Jail building to the main County Museum resolves all the space limitations the Society has faced for decades.

With its expansion into the historic County Jail building, the Historical Society is set on a course which will be as key to advancing its mission into the future as the decision of its founders was when they built our current museum in 1936.

Renovation of the interior space is in full swing and the restoration of the historic jail quarters has been completed. There is more work to do as we repurpose this 1825 building into County History Museum. Please consider donating to this major project and stay tuned for announcements about the building's grand opening!

Support the New Windham County History Museum

We are still fundraising for this important project and hope you can help us out with your donation.

We have just received a $10,000 Matching Gift for the new History Museum in the County Jail. Your donations for the renovation of the jail building and the installation of new exhibits will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

 

We thank you!

Jailhouse Rock!

Support the renovation of the historic Windham County Jail Building here in Newfane Village on:

Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 6 PM

On the Common in Newfane
in front of the county jail building.

Admission is free. All donations made during this benefit concert will support the jail building renovation project, soon to be home for the new, redesigned local history museum and exhibits.

Music by local rockers, the Wyld Nightz Band!

Please join us in thanking and supporting our event sponsors:  * Fayetteville Corner * The Fat Crow * Green Mountain Wine Shop  * Hempicurean * Lost Mile Automotive * Riverbend Farm Market  *  West River Lodge

Jailhouse Rock Benefit

Come on everybody, let’s rock!

Jail Cells - Before

Jail Cells - Before

Before and After Renovation

The men’s jail quarters on the East side of the first floor had been under lock and key and off limits to the general public for decades. The area was primarily used for evidence storage (including confiscated firearms.) Graffiti in the three double bunk cells and the original shower and sink in this section were revealed after the removal of sheetrock, modern doors, electrical control panels and layers of old paint. The graffiti has been carefully preserved, and the jail quarters have been returned to the way they appeared when the last prisoner was held there in the early 1970s. The jail quarters will be the first exhibit to be opened to the public this summer.

Jail Cells - After

Jail Cells - After

About the New Museum

Another 100 Years

As the Society approaches its Centennial celebration, it has accumulated such an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, records and manuscripts, it faces the problem of having long outgrown its current exhibit space in the 1936 County Museum building.  Additionally, the 1936 Museum building lacks access to persons with disabilities due to the structural and space limitations of the brick structure.

With its expansion into the historic County Jail building, the Historical Society is set on a course which will be as key to advancing its mission into the future as the decision of its founders was when they built our current museum in 1936.

Renovation of the interior space is in full swing and the restoration of the historic jail quarters has been completed. There is more work to do as we repurpose this 1825 building into County History Museum. Please consider donating to this major project and stay tuned for announcements about the building's grand opening!