Venture back to yesteryears and immerse yourself in the tales of Moore County's heroes and villains at the Lynchburg-Moore County Old Jail Museum. Situated on the historic square in Lynchburg, this iconic structure was erected in 1893 and functioned as a jail until its doors closed in 1990.
The moment you step inside, the past comes alive. The once-occupied cells stand as a testament to the era gone by. Adorning the walls and shelves are artifacts, photographs, prisoner outfits, and military uniforms, each piece narrating a unique tale about Lynchburg and its inhabitants. As the only museum in Moore County, the Old Jail Museum plays a pivotal role as the preserver of county history, ensuring that the memories of the past live on for future visitors and residents.
The museum showcases an interesting architectural aspect – it was both a house and a jail. The building accommodated the sheriff's family, providing them with a living room, two bedrooms, a dining room, and a kitchen. And within this very structure, the inmates were also housed. The living quarters of the sheriff's family and the cells were in close proximity, illustrating the blend of personal and official life back in the day. It's fascinating to note that not only did the sheriff's family and inmates reside under the same roof, but they also partook in similar meals. The sheriff's wife would cook for everyone, ensuring both the family and the inmates received hearty meals.
From 1893 to 1990, Moore County was overseen by 25 sheriffs, with two of them being women. Pearl Ervin Hobbs holds the distinction of being the first female sheriff, taking up the role after her husband, Wiley Oliver J. Hobbs, passed away while in office in 1932. Another trailblazer was Margaret Wiseman, who served from 1950-1952. A former schoolteacher, she transitioned to the role of sheriff, highlighting the versatility and adaptability of the county's residents.
The museum stands as a testament to the dedication and service of these individuals and offers visitors a chance to delve deep into the rich history of Moore County.
To explore this captivating slice of history, visit the Moore County Old Jail Museum at 231 Main St., Lynchburg. Entrance to the museum is free of charge, with donations graciously accepted.