Restored Brentsville Jail opens to the public

Prince William County Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (center) helps cut the ribbon on a newly restored Brentsville Jail.

After 10 years worth of work, the old Brentsville Jail has been restored.

A celebration was held Saturday, May 15 to mark the restoration of jail, which dates back to 1820. The jail sits next to the old Brentsville Courthouse, which served as the fourth county seat of Prince William County, after it was moved there from Dumfries.

Prince William County tell us:

The town of Brentsville served as the fourth county seat of Prince William County from 1822-1893 and was the political and social center of the county. The Brentsville Courthouse and Jail were constructed between the years of 1820 and 1822. The losses Brentsville suffered during the Civil War, combined with the gradual growth around Manassas Junction, eventually afforded Manassas the opportunity to become the fifth county seat of Prince William in 1893.

The Brentsville Courthouse and jail were repurposed to serve the community in a variety of ways. The courthouse hosted a college for teachers while the jail was used as their dormitory until the early 1900’s. Afterwards, the jail served as a private residence into the 1970’s and in 1975, the county Park Authority acquired the courthouse and jail for office space. In 2005 the Prince William Office of Historic Preservation took over responsibility for the preservation and restoration of Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre. The restoration of the Brentsville Jail began in 2012.

The $3.1 million effort aimed to restore the jail to its original condition began in 2011. About $200,000 in donations were collected from the public and used to partially fund the project.

The 28-acre Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre includes five historic buildings: 1822 courthouse, 1822 jail, 1880 church, 1850 farmhouse, and a one-room schoolhouse that served the young children of Brentsville from 1929 to 1944.

The center is located at 12229 Bristow Road in Bristow.

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