Founders and Oddfellows - 24 Elm Street

Five Walks Through Montpelier VT: Tour #3 - The Elm Street Mini Loop

Founders and Oddfellows - 24 Elm Street

Montpelier, Vermont 05602, United States

Created By: Kiltumper Close Press


This area now known as Jailhouse Common is the site of Montpelier’s first settlement – a modest log cabin built in 1787 where Jacob and Rebecca Davis and their sons first lived. They were generous with their hospitality, putting up multiple families at once, so by 1791 they'd built a larger frame house next door. Many years later, Jacob’s son Thomas gave that house to the city of Montpelier to serve as its first jail. A good deal of stone was brought in to create a sort of makeshift dungeon inside, but it wasn’t long before something bigger was needed. A granite building went up first, and then finally a two-story version of the brick and granite building you see today.

Two Buildings in One

When it was abandoned in favor of the adorable Queen Anne jail next door, this building languished for several years until a big renovation got underway. On the wall where the front door is, you can see the difference in brickwork marking the outline of the original building before it was made wider and also taller by two stories. The gabled roof was also replaced with a flat one.

All these changes were carried out by the new owners: the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. If you look up at the wall facing the street, you'll find their granite plaque still placed in the middle of it, just below the roofline. If you have no idea who the Odd Fellows are I won’t judge, because neither did I. It’s a fraternal organization similar to Freemasons and others like them, with the secret handshakes and symbols and the auxiliary units with names that sound vaguely dystopian. They are still in existence today and do a lot of charitable work, but their real heyday was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Now follow the shaded path to a hidden spot around the back that leads to find a wonderfully quiet, leafy pocket park with benches, where you can sit while I tell you the story of Laura Cutler-Gould-Caswell and her two husbands, one of whom ended up imprisoned in this very jail.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Five Walks Through Montpelier VT: Tour #3 - The Elm Street Mini Loop


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to