New Brunswick

A different sort of cell job: jail for sale in Dorchester

Anyone on the market for an out-of-commission jail need look no further than the village of Dorchester, where Andy Partridge is putting his 15-cell property up for sale.

Property features 15 cells, solitary confinement, a gym and a yard complete with coiled barbed wire

For sale: The old Dorchester county jail

5 years ago
1:15
Anyone in the market for an out-of-commission jail? Andy Partridge is putting his 15-cell property up for sale. Take the tour. 1:15

Anyone in the market for an out-of-commission jail need look no further than the village of Dorchester, where Andy Partridge is putting his 15-cell property up for sale.

Partridge said it was an impulse buy when he put in a bid 16 years ago upon hearing the property was up for sale. As the only bidder, he won. The idea was it would be an investment property.

"I have a gym upstairs."

According to a local historical group, the jail was built in 1800. Partridge says it was the 'site of the last double hanging that happened in Canada.' (CBC)
Partridge said the jail was in operation until about 20 years ago and the cell walls still have artwork from former inmates.

One elaborate pencil drawing shows cartoon cat Garfield with his owner John behind bars.

"I had rented out some of these cells for storage, secure storage as you can see and in the upper part it was my apartment for about four years."

Built in 1800

The old Dorchester county jail features 15 cells, solitary confinement, a gym and a yard complete with coiled barbed wire. (CBC)
A local historical group said the jail was built in 1800 when Dorchester was a bustling centre of the the ship-building industry. Partridge said the jail used to feature public gallows outside, but it was moved indoors.

 "I was told that this area was used to house the inmates on death row, the ropes came down through the from ceiling and that was the end."

"There were many people hung here."

While Partridge doesn't live in the building anymore, he isn't squeamish about the jail's gruesome history.

"It was just a roof over my head."

"The quarters upstairs are really quite comfortable."

Exercising in former jail's gym

Jail House Enterprise is Partridge's gym. He also rents out storage space in the cells, calling it, 'secure storage, as you can see.'
Sue Briggs has a membership at the former jail's gym and she doesn't mind exercising just metres from what used to be southeastern New Brunswick's death row.

From the treadmill, she said, "It doesn't bother me a bit, it's got everything I need."

Sitting in the middle of town, behind the village office which was also the former court house, the yard features a cement court and basket ball net, surrounded by a chain link fenced topped with coiled barbed wire. 

The unusual property has been on the market for two years. Partridge said he's reduced the price twice and is now asking $159,000, but is in no hurry to sell. He said he'll wait until the right buyer comes along.

"My main goal was to have something here that would benefit the community and ideally the new buyer, it would be awesome if they thought the same."

Partridge said he's looking to sell the former jail as part of his retirement plan. But looking back over the last 16 years he said if he could do it all over again, 'I'd have bid on it, It's been an interesting occupation."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.

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