For the amount of $11,844.20 in 1859–the 2013 equivalent of $325,893.07–the county built a jail and home for the marshal. The brick, Federal style house and adjoining limestone jail was designed by Asa Beebe (AB) Cross, “the pioneer architect” based out of Kansas City.
In between the jail’s construction in 1859 and the final decommissioning in 1933, a lot happened in the limestone cells–we call it history. Guerilla raider, William Quantrill, met an angry mob upon his release from the facility. Scores of Women and Children were detained behind bars during Order Number 11. The infamous Frank James roamed the halls of the jail and read many a classic book in his cell. In the 1900s, inmates were chained together and put to work building new roads for a rapidly developing county.
After the last jailer hung up his keys, the county found a use for the jail and home when it housed several offices, work training programs and government bureaus during the Great Depression.
To truly unlock the history of criminals and everyday folk in the home and cells, we recommend a walk through the old lock down and a stroll through the big house. You can see the cell where Frank James lived for six months, the home where the Marshal’s family lived and touch the mighty limestone and tremendous iron doors guarding each cell. Find out the true meaning of “Frontier Justice” within these walls.
Open seasonally, April-October, and December.