Carleton County Jail
Carleton County Gaol
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Carleton County Jail is located on Maple Street behind the Carleton County Courthouse in Woodstock. It is a two-storey brick and sandstone building with a square Romanesque tower. The building and grounds are included in the historic place designation.
Carleton County Jail is designated a Local Historic Place for its value as a Romanesque styled building, its use as a jail from 1901 until 1993 and the local interest as the site of three hangings. It is also recognized for the local development of Woodstock.
Designed by Saint John architect H. H. Mott, the structure was constructed for function but enhanced with Romanesque characteristics, most notably the square tower and sandstone decoration. Cells and other facilities for inmates and their supervisor on the main level are still intact and occasionally used. Living quarters for the jail keeper on the second story have been converted to office space but some decorative elements, including a fireplace and mantle, were retained. The exterior of the building has changed little since its construction with the exception of some paint and the enclosure of the grounds.
The grounds are part of the historic place designation because of their local interest as the site of three hangings: George Gee in 1904, Thomas Cammack in 1905, and Benny Swim in 1922. The hanging of Benny Swim, who had committed a double murder, created a scandal because he had to be hanged twice.
The building also has value as a symbol of the development of Woodstock. The construction of the jail was a part of the growth of "the Creek Village" (present day Woodstock). When the County of Carleton formed in 1832, Upper Woodstock was the shire town. Industry and business slowly shifted towards "the Creek Village," cumulating just after the turn of the century when all the civic buildings that had served the County since the 1830s, including the jail, were replaced with new buildings in Woodstock.
Source: Historic Places Files-File #10
The character-defining elements relating to the interior of the building include:
- mantle in the former parlour;
- some window surrounds;
- newel post;
- cell block.
The character-defining elements relating to the exterior of the building include:
- two storey rectangular massing with hipped roof interrupted by gabled and hipped dormers;
- red brick exterior;
- decorative rusticated sandstone elements including courses;
- door surrounds with pilasters and bracketed pediment over east door of facade, bracketed eave decoration;
- Romanesque arches of sandstone and vertical stretcher brick over first storey windows of facade, central entrance, and semi-circular window of attic dormer;
- square tower with brick dentils and battlement style design of flat roof;
-decorative spires on gabled dormers.
The character-defining elements relating to the grounds include:
-enclosed jail yard.
Local Governments (NB)
Community Planning Act
1922/01/01 to 1922/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
Function - Category and Type
- Office or office building
- Correctional Facility
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
H. H. Mott
Location of Supporting Documentation
Carleton County Historical Society Historic Places File #
Cross-Reference to Collection