Burlington Jail is a Residence

You and Your Neighbor
Ironton Tribune, September 26, 1954
Submitted by Lorna Marks


IRON BARS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE. The county’s first jail still stands at Burlington. But now it is a residence. The Dennis LAWSON family resides there now. Today two small boys romp and play in a two-story stone building at Burlington, which is their home, but some 137 years ago was the county jail.

The little boys, Dennis Jr. and Adrian LAWSON, are too young to realize that their home is one of the few original landmarks that remain at Burlington.

Shortly after Lawrence County was organized by Capt. James LAWRENCE of Burlington, N.J., in 1816, a courthouse and jail were erected and a park laid out at Burlington. The population of the county was then only 665.

When the jail was built the village was a thriving community having four stores, an academy, two churches, a newspaper printing office, and between 40 to 60 dwellings.

New houses have been erected on the former park site and the courthouse was torn down some years ago. Only the jail building stands in what was once the historic square in the little village of Burlington.

Replacing windows for the old iron bars and a new roof are the only improvements that have been made to the exterior of the weather-beaten stone building. Old-timers say that some of the iron bars, which once covered the windows, were removed to the present county jail in Ironton. Old stone steps and walks are still being used. The main entrance was facing the river.

After the county seat was moved to Ironton in 1851 the jail was converted into a house and many families have resided there since then.

The building is located approximately 100 feet from Route 52 and may be viewed by passing motorists.

Almost two years ago the Dennis Lawson family purchased the building. They are remodeling the interior and plan to paint the exterior and landscape the lawn by next spring.