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Rotary Jail Museum

225 North Washington Street
Crawfordsville, IN 47933


The Montgomery County Rotary Jail opened in 1882 as a solution to housing prisoners safely, efficiently and humanely. It was the first rotary jail constructed in the United States. It has a round two-story cellblock on a turntable that is rotated by a handcrank. There were eventually eighteen rotary jails constructed in the U.S. Today, it is the only operational rotary jail in the country.

The Rotary Jail operated as the Montgomery County Jail for 91 years, from 1882 - 1973. After it was closed, the Montgomery County Cultural Foundation was created to run the jail and attached sheriff's residence as a museum. The sheriff's residence is a beautiful two-story home of predominantly Eastlake style architecture. The sheriff's family lived in the home and shared responsibility for care of the prisoners. 

A visit to the museum today includes a tour of the rotary jail and sheriff's home, including both permanent exhibits of local artifacts and temporary exhibits of interest. There is also the Turnkey Gift Shop.

Our mission:

To preserve, to maintain, and to develop the Montgomery County rotary jail, an example of unique American engineering design; to enhance the educational, cultural, and arts environment and to provide space for art and cultural events.

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