Pender County Visitor Center

106 East Wilmington St.
Burgaw, NC 28425

The Pender County Tourism Office is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm.

The Old Pender County Jail in downtown Burgaw at 106 East Wilmington St. is now the home of the Pender County Tourism office. The newly restored Jail is right on the Courthouse Square, and as a visitor, you will have no problem finding the new Visitor Center. You will find information about what there is to see and do in Pender County with plenty of parking in front or behind the Jail.

The building was built in 1924 and formerly served as the Pender County Jail until 1977. The building is a two-story stucco brick building. The second story of the building housed up to 21 prisoners. The downstairs area was the living area for the jailer and his family. The living area also doubled as an office for booking prisoners.

There were two notable breakouts during the history of the jail. In 1971, two prisoners brought to the jail from Raleigh’s Central Prison rushed a guard, knocking him down, and escaped. The inmates were tracked by bloodhounds and captured in town about 45 minutes later. Four prisoners in 1975 were involved in an attempted jailbreak. The inmates overpowered a deputy, took his gun, and held him hostage. Shots were fired in the struggle leaving bullet holes in a metal cell door that are still evident today. The situation was resolved when the inmates surrendered.

In the summer of 2013, the Town of Burgaw and Pender County teamed up to renovate and jointly use the building. The first floor of the building house the offices for Tourism, a conference room for use by both the Town of Burgaw and Pender County. This project was to renovate the first floor only, leaving the second floor containing the jail cells mainly untouched. That way it can still be used for filming since over the years, the Former Pender County Jail building has been featured in several movies and television shows.

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