The Old Jail c. 1829 is the second oldest jail in North Carolina, second to the Edenton jail built in 1825. For 125 years it remained the active jail for Carteret County. After talk of its demolition came into play, local commissioners and the rather newly formed Beaufort Historical Association knew it was worth saving.
In 1977 the Old Jail made the journey from Courthouse Square to the grounds of the Beaufort Historic Site. Since then it welcomes over 60,000 visitors, school groups, and daily tourists every year. It is definitely the most popular building (thanks to beer and pizza every year for the Valentine’s Party).
However, over the years the jail’s structural integrity has diminished. In order to preserve this crucial piece of our coastal history, restoration must be done. This past month the Jail Committee, consisting of Doug Brady (Chair) and members, Bob Safrit, Tipper Davis, Don Fader, Vick Moore and Mark Carter, met to discuss the work plans to restore aspects of the jail such as the roof, the rusting windows and front door, as well as all the exterior and interior brick and plaster. Mark Carter, who worked on the Carteret County Courthouse of 1896 and the John C. Manson House c.1825, will rejoin us to complete this project.
It will take over a year to complete, as care will have to be taken to keep all the construction historically accurate. This will require funding well in excess of $150,000. This is a small amount compared to losing this valuable building that is so important to the history of Beaufort.
The project is planned to start immediately to, unfortunately, take advantage of very little to no group tours. We are dedicating our funds raised from our Virtual Fall Party Art Sale, to this important project.
For more information or if you would like to donate towards this project, you may do so by visiting beauforthistoricsite.org, calling 252-728-5225, or by visiting or mailing your donation to the Beaufort Historical Association at 150 Turner Street, Beaufort, NC 28516. n