Down the stairs ... to meet your fate!

The Dungeon
Columbia Market House
15 South Third Street
Columbia, Pennsylvania
(now closed)


So what do you do when you have a few unexpected hours to kill on a beautiful Friday afternoon? Well, I suppose you could go out in search of the nearest dungeon. That’s what I did!

Columbia is a great little town along the Susquehanna River (on the eastern shore of the Susquehanna River, at the edge of Lancaster County). It’s rich in history and has some great architecture for its size! There are several points of interest, which I will cover in some subsequent posts; but today I was on a mission to visit the Columbia Market’s unusual subterranean feature. It’s an honest to goodness 1869 dungeon — built to house vagrants and felons unlucky enough to find themselves on the wrong side of Columbia’s long arm of the law.

The Columbia Market House is a very well-preserved example of architecture in the Federalist style. It replaced an open air market that dated back to 1814. The market is open Thursdays & Fridays from 9 am – 6 pm. The Dungeon is open for guided tours from 2 pm – 5 pm (unless by prior appointment).

Click here to see my separate post about the market itself.

I was lucky enough to be escorted by Chris Vera. Chris is the vice-president of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society and he’s a great source for interesting stories and facts about the dungeon. If you are a history buff … or even someone who has an interest in paranormal activity; you’ll love this place!

Below are some of my pics …. for whatever reason (paranormal or otherwise LOL); two of the long shots that I took down the hallway with all of the cells seemed to have “magically” disappeared. Never fear – just click the Columbia Dungeon link at the end of this post and you’ll find one there.

Descending the steps to the dungeon … a bit musty but incredibly well-preserved!

This cell has metal sheathing. The lighting is odd because of this. (The items inside are props from past Halloween events)

Chris told me that the cell below was probably used for females … it is separated from the rest of the cells by an additional door and can also be accessed from the street.


Click images in the gallery below and check out the links for additional interesting info.

There are two additional cells upstairs as well — and if you are nice when you visit, you might get at peek at those too!

Whether you are a history buff, an architecture hound, or you just like curiosities … come visit the Columbia Dungeon and hear about its colorful history. Tell them Wendyvee sent you 🙂

> The Market House Dungeon page

> Columbia Historical Preservation Society

4 thoughts on “Market House Dungeon

  1. Thx for the post! I ride thru Columbia from time-to-time but have never stopped except for the Clock & Watch Musuem; it appears I’ve got to make it a point to check out some of these cool attractions.

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