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Our museum is located at 109 Pine Street in the center of Towanda’s Historic District. Formerly the Bradford County Jail, construction of the massive stone building was begun in 1871 and within two years it was completed. The three-story structure was built with stone quarried from Barclay Mountain. Two distinct sections mark this remarkable structure - the dwelling house in the front and the cell block in the back. The first prisoners were moved in on August 14, 1873 and the jail continued to service the county for the next 118 years. During that time it housed a varied group of prisoners, both male and female. In 1990, after the jail was determined to be in a rapidly deteriorating state, the County decided that a new larger and modern jail would be built in the county. The Bradford County Commissioners transferred the property to the Bradford County Historical Society in 1998.
Today, the museum features two floors of museum exhibits, which are creatively arranged in what were the cellblocks. The third floor features a genealogical and historical research library that houses a variety of resources for researchers. We offer regular museum hours from May through September, and also guided group tours by appointment.
Plan your visit to Bradford County Historical Society Museum and immerse yourself in local history. Our knowledgeable staff is on hand to guide you through the exhibits and answer any questions you may have.
Exhibit panels highlight Bradford County's connection to important events and people including: the Titanic disaster, the abolition of slavery, the pasteurization of milk, one of the most well known crimes of the 20th century, famous actors and politicians, songwriters, and much more.
We offer exhibits of many styles, arranged throughout former jail cells (with working jail doors), in display cases, or custom display areas.
Our museum features a large number of items that help interpret our area history. Artifacts and exhibits are clearly labeled and carefully arranged.
Read examples of reports about prisoner escapes at the Bradford County jail.
Discover the stories of executions that occurred in the old Bradford County jail yard.
Find out what life was like in the past for inmates at the Bradford County jail.
Bradford County has been saving its history for over 150 years. Local historians have documented our stories in personal collections, books, newspapers, and museums for many generations. Learn about these historians and the work they did to preserve their heritage so it would be available for present generations.