Today, I decided to call some of the towns with interesting jails or calabooses and see if I could get a picture for the website. These are towns that I may not visit for some time and I can’t use the internet photos without permission. So far, I have been successful in getting promises of photos and information on the jails in Gail, Marathon, Seymour, and Van Horn. Perhaps the most exciting contacts was Crystal Graham in Goree (Knox County) and Lisa Mahler in Gail (Borden County). I had called Crystal at city hall to get a phone number for Seymour and she told me about their calaboose. Lisa sent a wonderful historic photo of the jail in Gail. More photos will be posted on the website soon.
Gail calaboose in 1896
Today, Rhonda Holley and her mother, Donna, joined me for an outdoor adventure designed to get us away from home, document two metal cages, and have lunch at a German restaurant in Walburg. The first destination was Dessau that turned out to be somewhere in the Georgetown area that was so built up we had no idea where the old part of town was. We gave up and headed for the restaurant. The Walburg restaurant is in an 1880s building and has good atmosphere. Lots of German posters and Bier steins. We had the buffet and found the macaroni and cheese and red cabbage to be exceptional. Then we visited the owner of a metal cage that he had turned into a storage shed. It was most unusual (see photo below) and hotter than August in Presidio on the inside. The sides were made of strap iron but the owner has covered them with tin. More photos and details on the website under Cages and Cells.
In Walburg, we saw a rock calaboose that I had heard about but had forgotten about it. I don’t know what the original door was like but if it was solid this would have been an oven inside because the only visible ventilation are the two very small windows.
This calaboose is virtually identical to the one in Jonah. It certainly appears that they could have been built by the same person. Jonah is only 10 miles from Walburg.
One of the readers of my article in Texas Co-op Power Magazine sent this picture of a metal cage in Dessau, Texas (Travis County). Tomorrow, I will visit it with my faithful calaboose companion Rhonda K. Holley and her mother (Donna Smith). We also may document another one in Walburg.
Charles Fiedler read my article in Texas Co-op Power magazine and informed me of a calaboose in Comfort. I had heard that one was there but the locals I talked so said it was not true. Here is what Mr. Fiedler said.
“I thoroughly enjoyed your story and have been looking through your posts. I was disappointed to find out that you had not identified the Calaboose in Comfort, Texas. It is a two cell concrete structure that is situated on 7th street just south of Main Street. I believe it was converted to a pump room when the WCID#1 built the water tank next to it in the 1930’s. I distinctly remember my mother telling stories about it when I was a kid walking home from the movies on a Saturday evening. I bet someone at the WCID would know the rest of the story.”
Jess Reed of Port O’Connor (Calhoun County) sent me this photo of a calaboose in his town.
Donna Smith, former resident of Dallas, and one of the most knowledgable people I know when it comes to movies made before 1960 told me that she saw a small jail that might be a calaboose in the movie “Firecreek” starring James Stewart and Henry Fonda. If any of my followers know about this I would appreciate their information.
Bill Koleszar of Crandall, Texas (Kaufman County) sent pictures of this interesting calaboose that is in his back yard. This was a wonderful surprise.
I forgot to mention that I am concentrating on fixing problems with the Acknowledgments and adding missing towns and contributors. Everything highlighted in red is in the process of being checked. Hopefully, most of the questionable entries will be corrected soon’
It is my intention to acknowledge everyone who helped me during this project. Under “The Project” is the Acknowledgments. It is a list of those persons who contributed and what they did arranged by county and town. Some have contributed pictures of many calabooses and some have told me what they remember. Every contribution is important and welcome. When I plan my jail trips I try to visit as many as possible on the same trip. However, sometimes I learn about one or more in an area where I have already been. Without the help of informants I would surely miss some very interesting calabooses such as the ones in Lerenzo (Crosby County), Moore (Frio County), and Rosser (Kaufmanl County).
Another reader of Texas Co-op Power magazine shared a calaboose with me. It is a metal cage in northeast Travis County. The Dessau Dance Hall was a place questionable morals in the early part of the last century. In those days the Dance hall was located far far from town and alcohol, dancing, and women were a breeding ground for crime. Some form of lock up was needed. Reportedly there is damage from a bullet fired on the inside of the Calaboose.
He also reports on a possible east of Luling in Caldwell County. Apparently, Gander Slew was a rough place. This story came from a 92 year old woman whose father had prohibited her from visiting.