Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Old Columbia Jail - Civil War era jail in Columbia, Alabama

Old Columbia Jail
One of the oldest and most unique structures in the Wiregrass area of Southeast Alabama is the little wooden jail in the Chattahoochee River town of Columbia.

Believed to date from the early 1860s, the jail was standing when the War Between the States swept across Alabama and the nation. Columbia at that time was a thriving riverboat port that served as a receiving and shipping point for the commerce and people of a significant part of the Wiregrass area.

Iron Spikes in the Jail Door
Built of wood with iron spikes studded in its walls to help discourage escape attempts, the jail contained only two cells, with light and ventilation provided by windows and a single door. Modern for its time, it must have been an incredibly miserable place to be confined during the hot Alabama summers.

Remarkably, the little structure survived through the years and was restored as part of a local Bicentennial project. It is thought to be one of the oldest surviving wooden jails not only in Alabama, but in the entire Deep South.

To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/columbiajail.

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