Bristol County Jail is a historic jail at 48 Court Street in Bristol, Rhode Island and home to the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society. The jail was built on the site of a previous jail house dating to 1792 and salvaged materials were used extensively in the new construction. The present Bristol County Jail consists of a by center hallway in a -story stone structure topped with a gable roof. The jail accommodated both the inmates and the jailer's family. The first floor is believed to have been the family's parlor, dining room and kitchen on the west side and the east side the jailer's reception room, office and storage room. The second floor housed the family's bedrooms and the inmates' cells, with low, medium and maximum security cells. The maximum security cells in the southeast portion of the jail had no heat, light or sanitary facilities and were enclosed by exterior stone walls and built atop thick floor timbers supported by solid brick wall and further supported by a fieldstone wall from the cellar. In 1859, a rectangular by two-story rear addition was added to common southeast wall of the jail. Made of cut granite blocks and topped with a flat roof, the addition added five cells on each of its two levels. The jail was discontinued by the State of Rhode Island in June 1957 and the Bristol Historical Society (later the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society) leased the property following a fire at the Rogers Free Library. The Bristol Historical Society removed partitions in the first floor and added new access points as part of its renovations, including the removal of the internal east chimney. However, the building retains much of its unaltered interior features, and the jail cells are used by the Society as a public exhibit. The Bristol County Jail was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and currently serves as the Historical Society headquarters.
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Bristol County Jail
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