State Sells Historic Litchfield County Jail

Aug 22, 2014

The state of Connecticut has sold the historic former Litchfield County jail to a real estate investor for $130,000. 

Local investor and businessman Russell Barton and the state completed the sale of the 1812 building overlooking the Litchfield Green on Wednesday.

Barton said he and his partners plan to renovate the vacant, red-brick building, but they haven't yet decided how it will be used. 

A postcard depicts the Litchfield County jail in 1907.
Credit Creative Commons

British prisoners were detained at the jail during the War of 1812, and the building remained a state prison until 1992. According to the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust, the state reopened the jail in 1994 as a rehabilitation center for women. In 2009, the facility was closed again and has since remained unused.

The GLPT undertook a feasibility study, completed in 2011, to explore adaptive reuse of the jail, and to assist the state in possibly selling it. Possible uses included a hotel, offices, residences, a theater, or a museum.

A rendering in 2011 of a possible use for the Litchfield County jail included a potential museum.
Credit Cambridge 7 / Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust

The state had offered the jail to the town of Litchfield at no cost, but local officials said it would be too risky and expensive. The new developers will have to follow rules for exterior appearances set by the local historic district.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.