Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe reaches a milestone
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Museum owner Betty Lou McBride greets her landmark visitors, from left, Michael Eisenhardt of Jim Thorpe; Joey Romito and Joseph Romito, both from Wyndmoor, Pa.; and in the front, Andrew Eisenhardt of Jim Thorpe.
The Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe hosted some landmark visitors as the total number of people who have now toured the historic lockup reached the quarter-million mark this past Saturday.
The arrival of four family members for the Old Jail tour took the museum past the 250,000 visitor threshold as they passed through its formidable fortress-like doors.
The four visitors were Joseph Romito and his son Joey from Wyndmoor; and his two grandsons Andrew and Michael Eisenhardt, both of Jim Thorpe.
They were treated to a free tour of the museum along with a free Old Jail T-shirt.
Prominently located on West Broadway, The Old Jail Museum, formerly the Carbon County Prison, was purchased by Tom and Betty Lou McBride in January 1995.
While friends and relatives of theirs once mused "who will ever want to come see an old jail," apparently the answer is "a lot of people."
Betty Lou noted that some people come to see an old jail while others come to hear the story of the Molly Maguires, seven of whom were hanged in the building in the 1870s.
The museum, now in its 15th season, employs nine teenage guides at a time, all of whom are rigorously trained and can handle large groups of visitors.
According to Betty Lou, "many people feel the Old Jail building has ghosts roaming inside and people tell of strange things they have experienced, such as a hand of an unseen person on their shoulder, hearing voices calling from a cell, or seeing a white mist moving about the dungeon."
The building, located in the Mauch Chunk Historic District, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tours run daily through Labor Day from noon to 4:30 p.m. with weekends only in September and October.
The Old Jail Museum closes for the season on Nov. 1.
For more information, call (570) 325-5259 or go to www.TheOldJailMuseum.com.