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On Oct. 15, 1979, the Lincoln County Court released the old county jail building to the Society as the two groups had met over the past two years, according to the requirements of the Federal Historical Sites Preservation Act, necessary of buildings over 100 years old. Immediately, a renovation fun drive was begun.
According to writings by Dr. Joseph Aloysius Mudd, the old jail was built of “substantial brick and iron”, in 1876 at a site of a previous jail, by P.J. Pauly and Bros. of St. Louis for $7500 in a bid accepted by the County Court, April 11, 1876. A red brick Italienate structure was chosen to compliment the 1830 Courthouse, which stood just to the east. Quarried stone provided the material for windowsills, steps and cornice work. A previous jail on this site was built in 1839; it was used as part of the cell area of the 1876 jail.
In 1953, the red brick was covered with a white plaster stucco material by J.R. Elliot Plastering Co. for $2000. It was a facelift, but also would deter prisoners from “picking at the brick” in order to create an escape hole. The white exterior was to stay in place until the year 2000, when the red brick and quarry stone were returned to their original state.
On Nov. 17, 1985, the society held an old house to share with the public the major renovations to the jail, the jailer’s quarters, photo displays and many gifts of furnishings and historical artifacts from Lincoln County. Since then the society has worked tirelessly to improve the jail, and add to it safety and comfort level and provide a safe haven for furniture, clothes, pictures, and many gifts from residents of the county, past and present.
As you tour through the building, you will find most of the pieces are marked as to what there approximate date and the donor. The renovations have been made through donations, fund management and civic organizations.
The jail museum will be open in April 2012 on the first Saturday from 2-4 p.m. If you would like to schedule an appointment in the mean time, please call 636-528-8813 for a personal tour.
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