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Caney Jail

Caney Jail

Location Class:
Built: 1888 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedPrivate Property
Photojournalist: Emily Cowan

In a back alley of Caney barely visible from the street sits this frontier jail that was built in 1888. The structure cost around $27.00 to build, which translates to $728.68 in today’s money. It is now being used as storage for go-karts. According to a newspaper dated Feb. 08, 1888, from the South Kansas Tribune “Caney now has a very fine city prison, and we look to see some occupants but hope to be disappointed.”

The Caney Chronicle Sept. 15, 1893, “Five counterfeiters were captured by our efficient chief of police, “G.W. Smirl. Mr. Smirl don’t have much to say but he keeps himself posted. The bold, bad men from bitter creek who want to run the town gets the run, that is run in. $12.00 in spurious silver and an outfit and molds were secured. Counterfeiters are safely locked up in the Caney Jail.”

Independence Daily Reporter Aug. 27, 1907, “Clyde Paradise and William Peters who are confined in Caney Jail, awaiting a hearing on a charge of infraction of the prohibitory law, are seekin their release through habeas corpus proceedings. An application was filed in the district court today for habeas corpus. The suit is against the officers of the town of Caney.”

The Evening Star Aug. 22, 1916, “Plans were foiled by Caney Officer-Bartlesville boys in jail. Dime novels and cigarettes are blamed for the latest escapade of two Bartlesville boys, Charles Miller and J. Rooms, who are being held in jail at Caney, charged with gun-toting and it is possible they will also be charged with attempted highway robbery. The youths, both of whom are about sixteen years of age and who until a short time ago were wards of the juvenile court, were arrested Saturday night by a Caney officer who it is believed the youths intended to hold up. When arrested the youths were wearing leather masks and each was carrying a large caliber revolver. Since their arrest, they have refused to talk, but they are to be given the “third degree” in expectation they will “come through” with the story of their operations. One of the youths was carrying a revolver that answers one of the descriptions of the revolvers stolen from the City Hardware store several nights ago when the store was robbed on the same night Zofness Bros. clothing store was also robbed. Chas. Allen, chief of police, is working on this feature of the case. He was at Caney last night in conference with the chief of police of that city.”

The Caney Chronicle June 1, 1917, “October 1, 1916, Indian Johnson, charged with liquor violation was placed in Caney Jail. A member of the police force was instructed to interview Johnson in jail and ascertain what he would pay in cash to gain his liberty. The officer refused to do this and was told by the defendant “this was done every day.”

The Caney News June 13, 1924, “Caney’s need for a jail is not very great, but we should have a place where prisoners could be held with reasonable safety when necessary. The old stone shack now in use is laid up of stone with soft mortar joints and is about as strong as the ordinary stone fence.”

Gallery Below


“13 Jun 1924, 1 – The Caney News at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/489226315/?terms=caney%2Bjail.
“15 Sep 1893, 5 – The Caney Chronicle at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/427154267/?terms=caney%2Bjail.
“22 Aug 1916, Page 3 – The Evening Star at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/92175243/?terms=caney%2Bjail.
“27 Aug 1907, Page 1 – Independence Daily Reporter at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/93517621/?terms=caney%2Bjail.
“30 May 1889, Page 2 – Independence Daily Reporter at Newspapers.com.” Newspapers.com, www.newspapers.com/image/95973896/?terms=caney%2Bjail.
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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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