Hanover hoping Old Stone Jail can be tourist draw

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County leaders are breathing new life into an old building.  The Old Stone Jail at the Courthouse Complex could be a great historic and tourism asset for the county, it just needs some work.

Right now, you could get a tour of The Old Stone Jail one day a month. The goal here is to make that a more frequent opportunity, and we got a special tour today.

Built in the 1840s, this building served as Hanover's primary jail until the 1950s, and county leaders want more people to see it up close and personal.

"Our ultimate goal is to restore it to the point where it can be seen as a historic jail; a feature that will be open to the public on a frequent basis where they can come in and they can see what an old jail from that time period actually looked like," said Tom Harris with Hanover County.

Getting to that point is going to take a lot of work though and a lot of money.  This building needs new mortar, some safety upgrades to the floor and a new sign out front to tell the story of the building.

"We want to restore it to an appearance not as if it were brand new or as if it were being built today, but this will be more or less how it looked in 1840.  We need to make it a little bit more pedestrian friendly; we don't want people stumbling around and falling on this hard floor in here," Harris said.

Project organizers are hoping to get about 20 thousand dollars from the county to get started.

"There is some money we believe in the budget to get started on some of this work; if we have identified some local money for this, that will allow us to apply for some matching money from the state," he said.

The Historical Society in Hanover offers tours the 2nd Tuesday of every month. See their website for details. When complete -- like the Hanover Tavern or the Historic Courthouse --county leaders hope this will bring in many more Hanover and out of town tourists.

"Our tag line is 'People, Tradition and Spirit.' We place a great value on history and tradition and on trying to preserve the historic assets that we do have," Harris said.

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