We’re sure being locked up in jail is no picnic, but the Old Gaol sure is lovely on the outside.
The oldest prison in Maine, and one of the oldest in New England, the Old Goal celebrates its 300th anniversary this year.
While this building dates back to 1720, “Gaol Hill” was the site of a prison as early as 1656. Four stages of building happened from 1720 to 1806, adding a kitchen, dining room, fireplaces and additional cells.
Prisoners from four additional surrounding towns were jailed here.
It served as a jail until 1879, and became a school during the 1890s.
At the turn of the century, it changed its role to museum, and earned its National Historic Landmark title in 1968.
Self-guided tours are available 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, where you can tour the dungeon and learn about first-hand experiences that happened in the jail. (Unfortunately, we visited on a Sunday, so we didn’t get to do this.)
The Old Gaol is maintained by the Old York Improvement Society and The Society for the Preservation of Historic Landmarks.