Reveal! Where in the World is Jack James?


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

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