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Explore the 1840's Dungeon, 1890's Jail, Gallows Exhibition Hall on our guided tours


Ever wonder what early jail life might be like? Then this is a tour for you! The 1 hour and 15 minute Guided Tour is actually three tours in one and includes the 1892 jail with ties to President Rutherford B. Hayes, the 1840's Dungeon located underneath the Sandusky County Courthouse and the Gallows Exhibition Hall featuring the gallows used for the last hanging in Sandusky County. Hear exciting stories while learning the significance of this rare and historic structure.

Sandusky County built a dungeon in the early 1840s, after local officials experienced multiple escaped prisoners in a short time from the less secure, above ground jail. The earliest jails were essentially cabins which consisted of a small room with a dirt floors and a few iron bars on the window. Often local residents would volunteer up a room in their own homes for overflow for county inmates.

When the first prisoners were incarcerated in the 1840's dungeon, they saw little daylight in the subterranean space, with the only illumination coming from kerosene lamps. Despite the terrible conditions, the dungeon was used for more than a decade before it was finally shuttered. Today, the Sandusky County Courthouse sits atop part of it, and guided tours of the Sandusky County Historic Jail & Dungeon have been offered since 2013.

“It’s like stepping through a time portal. When you open that door, and you go into the dungeon area, it literally feels like you stepped back into the 1840s,” says David Thornbury, marketing specialist at the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which oversees the tours.

This experience is offered to groups of 20 or more people and can be arranged through the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Group tours cannot be booked on Tuesdays or Thursdays before 4:30 pm due to weekly commissioner meetings that take place on those weekdays. 

Sandusky County Historic Jail and Dungeon photo of lantern in dark corridor

The historic 1840's Dungeon is located below the current Sandusky County Courthouse and is one of county's biggest untold secret until now.  Book a tour today to explore this area that time forgot.

Special tours available for groups of 20 or more, pending availability of

building and staff.  Call or click to request a special tour.

Virtual Tour of the Dungeon, Press "Play Button" below to begin

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Additional Information and Maps

Sandusky County Historic Jail & Dungeon is located in Fremont, Ohio and is just a few miles from Exit 91 of the Ohio Turnpike. The tours are by appointment or advertised dates ONLY and walk-in are not accepted. Please verify times before travel. 

We are located:

  • 20 minutes from the Lake Erie Island Ferry in Downtown Port Clinton

  • 45 minutes to Cedar Point Amusement Park

  • 45 minutes from downtown Toledo

  • 90 minutes from downtown Cleveland

Downloadable PDF Information Sheet about RBHayes

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Sandusky County Historic Jail & Dungeon

622 Croghan Street
Fremont, OH 43420


Brenda Havens, Sandusky County Visitors Bureau

Telephone:   (419) 332-4470

712 North Street, Fremont, Ohio 43420  |   419-332-4470 or toll free 800-255-8070  |  Fax 419-332-4359

Need more help? Contact us!

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