Waynesville closes sale of historic building known as The Lockup

Local museum “really excited” to renovate the former jail and firehouse, then rent it out

Waynesville has closed on the sale of The Lockup to the local historical society.

Following Monday’s Village Council meeting, Law Director Jeff Forbes met with representatives from the Museum at the Friends Home to sign the closing papers to transfer the 141-year-old former jail, police station and firehouse for $1.

Village Council agreed to the proposal in February and since then, the nonprofit has been doing its due diligence and assessments of the building.

Village Manager/Police Chief Gary Copeland said the building had been rented out to tenants in the past, but they have not been successful in renting the building. He said the building needs various things to be done, such as mortar work, new insulation installed, duct and plumbing work. The Lockup also does not have any parking.

“Now we have a lot of work to do,” said David Nation of the Friends Home. “We’re really excited. It’s going to take a few months to renovate and we hope to rent it out to the village.”

Nation said he’s glad they will be able to keep the Lockup within the community to keep it as a historical destination in Waynesville.

Linda Morgan, president of the Museum at Friends Home, said, “this is to be shared with the community.”

The building opened as Waynesville’s first fire house in 1881, and a few years later served as its one-cell jail on what was then Tyler Street, according to local historians.

The building located at what is now 260 Chapman St., and known as “The Lockup,” has a colorful history. It housed a steam engine fire truck known as “Old Faithful” back in 1886. That truck, pulled by two horses, replaced the citizens’ bucket brigade in place since the village was founded in 1797.

Waynesville had acquired a movable iron cage in 1871, but in 1886, the village borrowed $400 for a jail cell to replace it, according to an article written by Karen Campbell, who was genealogy librarian at the Mary L. Cook Library in Waynesville. The village built an addition to the “Lockup” building, to house the jail cell.

The building was used as a police station and as a fire house until 1952, when a new fire house was built at 165 Miami St. Since then, it has been used for storage for the township and village to house vehicles and equipment. The Lockup was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

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