MANASSAS, Va. (WDVM) — Built in 1915, Manassas’ Old Town Hall has worn many hats. Communications Coordinator for Community Development Lisa Sievel-Otten says it once housed the fire department, two jail cells, town council, and other offices. Now it houses the Voter Registration Office.
When she’s not fulfilling her office duties, Director of Elections and General Registrar Susan Reed gives tours through the building. On the upper level are two crowded storage closets — if you look closely, there are bars over the windows.
“In the early years of the building there was a young man who was arrested for public intoxication and he stayed overnight,” said Sievel-Otten. The man, from a well-known family and ashamed of what he’d done, supposedly used his own belt to hang himself.
It’s not unusual for volunteers and employees to go into the former jail cells. A few of them have been unlucky. “Occasionally the door would slam shut,” said Sievel-Otten. “Some of these volunteers would have to wait for one of their coworkers to come over and let them out.”
“We also heard some accounts of people who were in the building [and] heard some crying sounds coming from the vicinity of the cells,” said Sievel Otten.
Neither Sievel-Otten nor Reed have seen, heard, or felt anything unusual in the building. “The current staff…hasn’t been in the cells by themselves at night, I think, so who knows?”