What has 3-feet thick walls, reinforced steel doors, an iron cage, and is surrounded by an 18-foot high wall ? A good guess would be the 1876 Charlottesville Jail (the first Albemarle County Jail was built in 1749). You probably drive by the jail frequently, without noticing it.
It sits behind the juvenile court offices, off E High and Park Street (near Hedge Street). Inmates were segregated by gender and race, with a 30-minute window for visitors, from noon until 12:30. The jail held between 35 and 40 inmates. Visit the Sheriff’s Office website for more details and an old photograph of the jail. An adjacent house was added in the early 20th Century for the jailer and his wife. The “Old Jail” closed in 1974 (when the modern Albemarle-Charlottesville Joint Security Complex opened on 5th Street Extended).