Thinking about a day trip filled with history? Other day trips Visit the Old Sheriffs House & Lake County Jail at 226 South Main Street in Crown Point, Indiana for something fun and informative! The Jail is one of many in unique historic buildings in the Courthouse Square Historic District of Crown Point. The Old Sheriff’s House and Jail has a rich history of storied sheriffs and infamous inmates as well as unique architectural period styles and construction. Built in 1882 in the Second Empire style, the house and jail were the county’s first permanent buildings for this purpose. By 1910 the facility was inadequate and the first of a series of additions was built. The jail was closed in 1974 when a new facility was completed. The Sheriff’s House and Jail were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Thought to be escape-proof, a young gangster named John Dillinger proved it to be otherwise when he made his daring escape in March of 1934. While stories of the escape vary, Dillinger was able to lock up 14 jailers and escape in the Sheriff’s car with another prisoner and 2 hostages to Chicago, where the hostages were released and he met his death later that year at the hands of the FBI. Another famous prisoner was James “Fur” Sammons, who was known to be a hit man for Al Capone. He was arrested in 1933 while intoxicated in Cedar Lake Indiana and resided at Old Lake County Jail for one month until his conviction. Local business
Tour the original facility and inquire with docents and historians of the daily operation of an historic house and jail. 45 minute Tours are offered on Saturdays and Thursdays from 10 AM – 1 PM early May through late September or by special request with at least 5 business days prior notice. General Admission for ages 6-12 is $2, adults $5 and children under 6 are free. The facility is also available for private events, such as movie filming, photo shoots, themed parties and weddings. As this is a historical building, it is not ADA Accessible and not recommended for individuals who have trouble walking.
Starting in 2010, overnight tours with a paranormal investigator were added. These tours run from 9 PM to 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays from March through September and are $25 per person with a 5 person minimum. Concerned you won’t see anything spooky? The Old Sheriff’s House and Jail has been featured on Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Survivor and various private investigators’ YouTube channels. Evidence from the jail and Sheriff’s House has been undeniable! Experiences have been physical, emotional, mental and visual and is described as an amazing experience.
A gift shop located in the first floor parlor of the house offers memorabilia from clothing to photographs, literature, toys and other related interests. The shop is open during regular tour periods and all proceeds benefit the restoration and operation of the complex, however you may visit the shop without paying for a tour. If you’re planning a visit in the fall attend one of the Jailhouses’ annual fundraisers, the “Criminally Insane” haunted house, with vendors and music to enjoy while you wait in line during October or the Annual “Jail Break 5K” costumed run/walk in November.