I’m a little prejudice, but I think the location of this
week’s WWJJ is one of the most intriguing places in the county. The photo is of
the Huntington City Jail. This
single-story stone structure is located one-half block south of the Huntington
City Hall. It sits behind the old city
hall building that was once the mining offices of the Kansas and Texas Coal
Company, located at 223 East Broadway.
It was built in 1888 by the KTCC, who, by the way, platted
and founded the city of Huntington a year earlier in 1887.
The cut stone building interior has a central hall space
with two small cell rooms on the east side and a larger one on the west
side. In the center of the floor of the
northeast cell, there is an iron ring set in concrete where hard criminal could
be chained, I imagine, for extra protection.
The southwest corner of the building, just behind the largest cell
houses a bathroom of old: a simple, thick slab of lumber with a hold cut in the
center. Beneath the hole is a makeshift
tin funnel that lets the deposits fall to the outside of the jail. Tales told to me in my younger days said that
a prisoner was used each night to remove and ‘bury the evidence.”
The walls are constructed of thick, rough-sawn
lumber. Most all are covered with
carvings throughout made by “guests” of the jail throughout the beginning of
the last century.
The jail was in active use into the mid-1950s, but I
remember it being used into the 1970s to let an overserved citizen or two sleep
it off there overnight. The old jail is
now used as a local history museum with many displays and photographs of
Huntington and the coal mines operations that founded it. The late Wayne Turner and others worked
tirelessly to make certain the old jail was saved for generations to come. The building was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Source: Old Jail, Wikipedia