Fix Franklin County Historic Jail Plumbing

The Franklin County Historic Jail and Sheriff's house needs your help to replace the sewer line under the sheriff’s house. If we don’t fix the sewer soon, the sewer could collapse, and that could shut down the jail project. If we delay the repair, replacement could be prohibitively expensive.

Why should you help preserve this historic jail? The Jail and Sheriff's house in was built in 1880 in the Italianate architectural style. It was purchased by Mark Gudmundsen in 2016, and lovingly repaired and restored over the past 5 plus years. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the Franklin County Historic Jail was likely the last "Mom and Pop" jail to operate in the United States.  Many counties in the United States used to run jails with the Sheriff and his family living in the house. The Sheriff’s wife would cook the food for the inmates, and the family would pitch in as needed. History like this is hard to find and expensive to preserve, so your assistance is greatly appreciated.

In addition to preserving the history and architecture, the jail is used for a fully immersive roleplay experience which provides a window to the past. Guests can play cops and robbers, let their hair down, and escape from the rigors of daily life. People who sign up for the jail role play leave with more appreciation for freedom and empathy for others. Groups and couples have grown closer because of the role play. Your donation will enable people to continue to enjoy this rare opportunity to take a step back in time in a small county jail. 

One would expect a hundred year old sewer line to fail at some point. We need your help to repair the sewer system, and estimates range up to $30,000 to rip up the cement foundation. Without these needed funds, the jail’s historic preservation and jail role play experience are in jeopardy. 

Your contribution to the jail and its preservation project will move us closer to becoming self-supporting. Thousands of man hours from six or seven hard working volunteers over 5 plus years have already been invested in the project. Your help today can assist with need repairs, and help assure the longevity of the Franklin County Historic Jail.
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 1 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 7 d
  • Jakob Engel 
    • $50 
    • 13 d
  • Mark Burnley 
    • $1,000 
    • 14 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $40 
    • 15 d
See all


Mark Gundmundsen 
Hampton, IA
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