Franklin County 

Historic Jail

Hampton, Iowa

About the building


The Franklin County Jail and Sheriff's house in Hampton, Iowa, is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It was built in 1880 in the Italianate architectural style. This was the most popular Victorian era style in the United States between 1860 and 1890. The building and cells were built by J. Pauly and Brothers. The design of the cell block is an excellent historical example of the first lever locking mechanism for closing multiple cells, an innovation that J. Pauly patented in 1874. The Jail was in use for 108 years. Criminals of every kind were incarcerated in the jail until it closed in 1988. The building is now used as a private residence. No public tours are available at this time.


The Jail is the only place in the world where selected guests can visit and find out firsthand what being in jail would have been like during the years that this facility was in operation. They can be the inmate in a jail role playing experience where they will step back into time...fifty or more years ago. 

The nearest International Airport is Des Moines (DSM). It is a 1:38 drive to Hampton. DSM is serviced by United, American, Delta, Southwest, and Allegiant. Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is a 2:36 drive to Hampton.  

This historical landmark and the role play experiences are expensive to maintain. Please help by making a generous donation. Thank You