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americus jail

Americus Jail

Location Class:
Built: 1899 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: Restored 1971
Photojournalist: Jody Meyers

The Americus jail was built in the Spring of 1899 just before the turn of the century under the supervision and order of Mayor William Ernst. Contract for the stonework was awarded to a gentleman by the name of C.L. Stephens for a winning bid of $100. The contract for the woodwork and roof was awarded to Elias Moorehead who bid $26 and $38. The Saffer Brothers bid $13.20 for the iron ceilings and gratings. By March it was reported that work had been progressing satisfactorily on the jail and a deadline of July 30th was given. The Americus jail is a single cell, square and made of thick tough to break stone. Some of the news of the jail and its patrons are included below:

The Emporia Weekly Gazette April 9, 1903 – The Americus marshal threw a Dunlap fellow in jail in Americus for being drunk the other day and the Dunlap fellow was mean and “busted” up all the furniture and the iron stove. The judge stuck him for $10 extra on his fine.

Emporia Republican August 11, 1904 – W.H. Patton, president of the Americus State Bank, filed suit today in the District Court, against A.C. White. The suit is for $3000 and was filed through Patton’s attorney, William S. Kretsinger. It is alleged in the filing that White was instrumental in having Patton’s twelve-year-old boy imprisoned in the Americus city jail. Patton claims that his boy was thrown in jail without cause and that such action was from a malicious feeling on the part of White…. The Patton boy was not given a trial but was held in jail until the marshal saw fit to release him.

The Northern Lyon County Journal December 28, 1921 – City Marshal Brown landed a victim last Thursday night. A stranger with no apparent business was loafing on the street all afternoon. In the evening complaint was made that he was paying considerable attention to the automobiles, examining the tired and taking more than ordinary interest in them. His actions aroused suspicions and he was required to spend the night in the city jail.

The Emporia Gazette  March 27, 1927 – …There is a real city jail in Americus but it is seldom occupied except by tramps who have no other place to sleep. Americus is a law-abiding community…

In 1971 the jail was disassembled stone by stone and moved from its original site near the Americus Grain Company to the city park. The numbered stones were assembled exactly how they were before with the galvanized roof and door with the exception of new footing. Push for the restoration was led by Henry Worcester who got assistance from the Brotherhood Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and citizens.













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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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