Vermont cottage with secret jail cells hidden inside goes on sale for $149,000

This cottage up for sale in Vermont has a rather unusual hidden feature: seven jail cells.

The property, based in Guildhall, near the Canadian border, was originally a jailer’s residence when it was built back in 1878.

That means that while there’s a main house area originally intended for the jailer, there’s also a jailer’s office and seven cells with the original barred windows.

The home bit is quite nice, beyond being attached to a prison.

There’s 2,190 squarefoot of space, four bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

Enter through the covered front porch, which overlooks the vollage green, and you’ll find a renovated kitchen with an electric stove (a replica of an antique version), a large island, and a walk-in pantry.



Then there’s the main entryway, living room, and dining room, which all feature the original wainscoting on the walls and cornices on the ceilings.

Also on the main level is a bathroom, an office, and an unfinished mudroom.



Go up to the next floor and you’ll find the four bedrooms, the other bathroom, a laundry area, and access to the attic.

The main house has had plenty of new features added, including radiant floor heat and a new chimney.


Attached to that house is the former Essex County Jail, which went out of action in 1969.

Inside there are the original cells, complete with rusted over bars and neglected toilets.

You could keep the jail as is, as a sort of mini museum, or knock out the bars to use the space for a home office or similar.



Along with the jail and the house, you can also enjoy nearly an acre of land, with a large private back garden and a detached barn for storage.

The home is on sale through Realtor, with an asking price of $149,000.

Listing agent Jennifer Allen said: ‘This house was the jailer’s house, with the attached jail.

‘Over the years, the house has been updated. It’s been a single-family home for many years, and the jail has just kind of been there.

‘The jail is still fully intact. It’s got the bars, it’s got everything, but it’s deteriorated, so it’s definitely not something that someone could just go in and start using it.

‘It needs work. But it is still there and is attached to the house.

‘There are some historic things—like the old brick—that wouldn’t be able to be taken out, but somebody could take out the bars and turn it into living space.

‘The sellers were considering making it into a big family room or gathering room that’s attached to the house.

‘It would be great to see somebody buy it that would want to create something out of the jail. I’d love to find a buyer that would be able to bring the jail back so it’s a usable space again.’

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