Owners Phil and Miracle Riese first experienced escape rooms while living in Europe in the early 2010s. Europe had caught on to the escape room trend a few years earlier than America.

Immediately after doing our first escape room with our two young children, we knew we wanted to create an escape room business when we returned to Charlottesville, Virginia.

By then, the escape room phenomena had taken off in the U.S. But we wanted to create a unique experience that could not be found at other escape rooms. Our favorite escape rooms had multiple rooms, many different types of puzzles, and a strong and immersive story. But we also wanted to create something that was uniquely Charlottesville. 

We moved back to Charlottesville in 2017. Charlottesville is the home to the University of Virginia and two founding fathers–Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. It is one of the most historic cities in the U.S.

So we thought, why not incorporate Charlottesville’s history into our escape rooms? We knew we were on to something and we decided to take the plunge in starting our very first business.

Unlocked History Escape Rooms opened in May 2018 with its first escape room “The British Are Coming.” It is based on the time Thomas Jefferson narrowly escaped British forces during the Revolutionary War. Jefferson was warned of the approaching British by local legend Captain Jack Jouett–who is one of the characters in our escape room.

Our second escape room, “The Raven,” opens in Summer 2019. This escape room puts you in the shoes of Edgar Allan Poe during his time at UVA. It is set inside his dormitory room which can still be seen today on the UVA campus. The story interweaves Poe’s most famous literary works including “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Black Cat.”

With so much history in Charlottesville, we have many more ideas we’re exploring for our escape rooms.

We are a family business. We hope our business can bring a small dose of happiness to friends and family who experience our escape rooms. 

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