Washington County Jail
Category: Public Landmark
Location: Cherry Street, west of courthouse
Built at the time of the courthouse construction by Miller Miller & Sons of Pittsburgh, the jail following the Romanesque design of architect F.J. Osterling. It is a four-story dressed stone structure crowned with an octagonal center dome. The interior was designed in a "linear intermittent supervision" configuration where prisoners are secured in cells surrounded by a corridor used for control. It was built to house the county sheriff in separate quarters and 100 inmates, and was first occupied in mid-1899. When a new correctional facility was constructed in 1996, the old jail sat empty until it underwent extensive restoration and renovation for use as additional county court-related use. By this time the old county jail was a wet, moldy, dark and dank reflection of its original self. Cells consisted of vintage commode and sink and water-streaked concrete walls. Rusted iron-barred cell doors had remnants of prisoner "salvation art" on overhead block walls and opened onto narrow and dimly-lit corridors. With the renovations came light, open spaces and new inspired re-use while retaining important historic integrity.