Northampton Historic Preservation Society

Enriching lives through the preservation of historical sites and culture in Northampton County, Virginia.


The Northampton Historical Preservation Society announces the award of a $3,000 grant to produce and deliver a documentary video to recognize the historical role of the recently demolished 1914 Jail and other Northampton County jails that stood on the Eastville Court Green. Once the video is complete, it will be shown in a public “premiere” screening and discussion forum. The Historical Society is pleased to acknowledge that this video was made possible with the generous support of Virginia Humanities.

To see a ca.1932 salesman's sample of a similar type of system that was used at Alcatraz - CLICK HERE.

1914 Northampton County Jail Locking Mechanism 

The cases were opened before demolition to view the inner locking mechanisms for three cells.  The jail had 4 sets of these on two floors.  This was "cutting edge" technology for its day. This type of locking mechanism was used about 14 years later at the Indiana jail where John Dillinger escaped and 20 years later at Alcatraz. The last slide at the bottom of the page shows the cell locking controls that would allow for 1, 2 , or 3 cells  to open separately or all at one time. Below Mike Ask and Dr. Garrison Brown examine the closing fixtures.


Northampton Historic Preservation Society

P.O. Box 501

Eastville, VA 23347