For sale: Historic, maybe haunted, 1928 Florida jail

Gilchrist County Jail still has original cell doors

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A historic jail from the 1920s is for sale in Florida. Buyer bonus: It might even be haunted.

Although the property surrounding the Old Gilchrist County Jail, which opened in 1928 and operated for 40 years, is somewhat dilapidated, the interior is well preserved, with original cell doors, bunks and bath fixtures in place. There’s also running water, though the jail portion has no electricity.

The eight-cell, eight-bath property comprises a little more than 2,000 square feet and also includes an attached jailer’s house, added in 1965. The asking price is $140,000.

Arlene Hale's husband bought the jail for her as a birthday present a dozen years ago, paying about $30,000 for it.

Hale told The Gainesville Sun she and other paranormal enthusiasts have used the space to talk with the spirits associated with the jail they believe remain there. Inmates and the ghost of a man found murdered there in 2008 are most often reported. Unexplained voices, shadowy figures and a sensation of being touched have been reported, she said.

The 73-year-old said it’s become too difficult for her to keep up with the property, but she is hoping to strike a deal with the new owners so she can still court other paranormal enthusiasts there from time to time.

Little is known about the history of the jail because of a lack of records available from the courthouse and police department.