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Lebanon Jail

Lebanon Jail

Location Class:
Built: 1910 | Abandoned: 1950s
Status: Restored 2017
Photojournalist: Emily Roush

In 1910 Lebanon Mayor Ellsworth Adams with a committee consisting of John C. Bunker, Clarence Eugene Ingram, and E.C. Elroy. Together, they voted for the City of Lebanon to make a purchase of two steel cages to finally have a city jail to hold delinquents in. Two steel cages fused together were ordered from Champion Iron Works in Kenton Ohio for $116. They were then shipped to Lebanon in roughly 45 days being placed on the corner of Pine and N. Railway Streets. This ensured an easy transfer of the prisoners at the train station across the street to the County Jail if need be.

Each cell contains two bunk beds allowing for four prisoners to be held at a time. In order to make the jail cells more secure and protect prisoners from the winter cold and summer sun there needed to be coverage around the cells. In June 1910 Charles Beardslee was contracted to build a cement structure around the cells for a total cost of $240. Isaac (Ike) A. Wysel was paid $55 a month as City Marshal and Sreet Commissioner and held that position until about 1925 when he was in a terrible accident.

The Lebanon Jail was very active seeing many “visitors” come and go over the years. Below are newspaper articles telling the tales:

Smith County Pioneer August 10, 1911 – Ed Bales, a laborer, living in Lebanon went violently insane Tuesday, and three of four men had a hard fight to subdue him. In the scrap, John Adams received a hard jolt over the eye. Bales was adjusted insane yesterday and will remain in the Lebanon jail until he can be taken to the insane hospital, which will likely be in the next few days.

The Lebanon Times August 29, 1912 – One female graced the city bastile the last evening, or rather disgraced it.

The Lebanon Times August 14, 1913 – Charley Ashley, who assaulted the City Marshal of Lebanon a couple of weeks ago and was later caught at Red Cloud, is back in his old cell in jail at this place. The charge against him is assaulting and escaping from the custody of an officer. His bail was placed at $1000, but he failed to give it.

In 1915 materials were purchased from the local Lebanon Lumber Company for the jail at a cost of $3.65. A year later W.W. Zentz was hired to make unknown repairs to the jail for $75.20.

The jail was used to hold drunks up until around the 1950s when it became abandoned. The property was left in disarray becoming overgrown with little hope until the property went up for sale. Bill and Linda Befort purchased the jail property during the Sheriff’s Tax Auction in 2015. They made the gracious donation of the jail back to the City of Lebanon under the condition that cells would be open to the public for viewing at all times. The cells were removed from the structure containing them and in 2017 after donations and grants were placed in Harmony Park.










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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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