Jail House Inn

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This structure may still be a spectral jail.

Perhaps a former jailer may also be on duty.


The Jail House Inn has been described as being a handsome federal style building, constructed in 1772, to replace the old 1658 jail. In 1772, it was built to be a temporary holding tank for accused wrong-doers, facing trial; just for those folks who were passing through Newport’s criminal justice system, and not staying too long. However, in the late 1800s the building was enlarged and renovated by architect Dudley Newton to be Newport’s police station headquarters. The new building served the community’s criminal justice needs as a police station, with room for other related departments until a new police headquarters was built on Broadway St. in 1986. Again, people were held there temporarily.

This classic building didn’t stay vacant for long, as it was purchased and became The Jail House Inn, after a renovation of the building. In 2005, the building was renovated to upscale the quality of the rooms to attract more visitors, though certain features of the old jail are still there, letting the guest know that this indeed was once a police department building.

As the visitor enters the front door, there is the old police check in area window, that is now the check in to the inn. The old sign that hangs on the wall lists the various areas of business that one would find in The Newport Police Headquarters, besides the jail, including: Accidents, Complaints, Parking Tickets, and Licenses.

The main dining area used to be part of the jail, because the old sliding bars are still in place. Bedrooms have upscale, modern furniture, described as being “rich mahogany ‘campaign’ style furnishings” and provide a comfortable, calm stay.




Many Jail houses that held people just passing through the legal system still have some of these past jailed folks and perhaps a few jailers and people in charge as well.



Unknown Presences:

Strong, Unseen Presence

A strong presence is felt in the inn, especially on the third floor.

Perhaps, the Jailer in Charge is still supervising in his jail.

He has added to his duties; supervising the staff and guests as well.

Going About Business

A cool breeze will flow by the living, when no windows are open, and it is hot and still outside.

There is no rational explanation for these breezes.

Vocal Activity

Whispers from disembodied voices are heard by staff and guests as well.

Perhaps spirits of prisoners talking with each other when they were not supposed to be talking.


Perhaps so. Personal experiences of staff and guests point to the possibility that some unseen spirit(s) are still incarcerated, or perhaps a jailer/or police officer is still on duty.

No history has been made public recently of any deaths or suicides, or any other traumatic events that may have happened years ago in this jail, but this doesn’t mean that nothing has occurred in the past. Jails are not nice places to be locked up in, and can bring out the worst in personalities. Many folks are not at their best when having to take care of such prisoners, who can be unpleasant, uncooperative, depressed and angry in suffering the consequences of their behavior in jail. Or, perhaps they were unjustly accused.

While there is no readily viewed published paranormal evidence of activity in this lovely bed and breakfast, a lot of old jail buildings seem to harbor a spirit or two. Perhaps when the spirit or spirits realize that the current owners of The Jail House Inn in Newport. are not police officers, and after the spirit(s) get to know the owners, these unseen residents will become more bolder and less afraid to make more contact with the folks at The Jail House Inn in Newport.

Reports and claims of the paranormal activity come from staff and guests who stay here. While I haven’t been able to find anything on line that offers hard evidence to back up these personal experiences, perhaps a private investigation or two has taken place to find out what is in the building. While the owners gave permission for John Brennan to publish his story on The Jail House Inn in Newport, the owners haven’t actively advertised The Jail House Inn in Newport, as a haunted B&B, perhaps because their paranormal activity is subtle, and hasn’t been fully investigated and explored yet.



13 Marlborough Street
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
(401) 367-4497

The Jailhouse Inn is located in the historic section of Newport, on Marlborough Street between Thames St. and Farrell Street, just across the street from The Jail House Inn. Marlborough Street connects America’s Cup Avenue to Broadway.



    By John Brennan
    Haunted America, 2007

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

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