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Council Grove Jail

Council Grove Jail

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Built: 1870 | Abandoned: ~1905
Status: Restored (1998)
Photojournalist: Emily Cowan

Constructed in 1870 the Council Grove jail was originally bigger than this, two stories in fact. Located in the all behind Strieby Blacksmith Shop was the original wooden structure with a gabled roof and clapboard siding. On the first floor were the two cells that housed the prisoners with stairs inside leading to a second-floor containing an office for the head in charge. It went unused for numerous years after Council Grove started transporting prisoners to the county, causing it to be sold off in 1911. The second story of the building was removed and the lower level cells moved to the Helmick Quarry roughly six miles west of Council Grove to be used to store dynamite.

By 1954 the old jail had been returned to Council Grove for a Kansas Territorial Centennial celebration. Two years later it was placed in Durland Park and the roof was replaced with a flat roof and siding removed. It sat in the same place until 1998 when it was growing very evident that the building was deteriorating. It was replaced by a replica using the original ironwork of the doors and windows forged by the blacksmith shop it originally sat in front of as well as a portion of the interior wall. It continues to sit in Durland Park and is available to visit and go inside.




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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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