The History of the Old Jail By Andrea Moser
The old jail has a very interesting history. The old jail was located between the Court House and the former American Hotel on Main Street. Many inmates could and did escape from the jail. The structure of the jail was made of brick and stone, but the building was not as strong as it looked. Most prisoners escaped on the weekends because the guards would always be relaxing. The inmates escaped by climbing through little gaps in the walls, climbing up through the chimneys and by pulling bricks out of the walls and sliding into dark alleys. In just one decade 26 inmates escaped successfully, but over a dozen were not successful.
They decided to make a new jail, because there were too many escapes. The new jail was built in the 1850s at a cost of around $14,200.
The first escape was in 1856. Two more "jail birds" escaped in 1869. A lot more escapes were made through the years.
The old jail was still being used while the Court House was being remodeled in the early 1920s.
Prisoners were lodged in the basement of the Court House until the present jail was built. (Located off I-80, Exit 14 Hazen).
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