Max Brown is a resident of Ringgold, Texas. Earlier, he sent me photos and measurements of the calaboose in his town. At the time, it was obscured by vegetation. It has since been cleared and he sent this photo that presents a better view and there are more to come. This on is posted on my website.
Susanne Kerley is a resident of Frisco and she sent me this interesting story about the only time prisoners broke out of the local calaboose. I really appreciate getting this story.
Halloween night 1945 a group of teenage boys decided to make a little mischief and pull the fire alarm switch. The boys waited until the night watchman, Jarvis Hays, was away from the area and then they pulled the switch and ran. It was an all-volunteer fire department in those days and of course blowing the fire whistle would summon the firefighters to respond. Mr. Hays was the only law enforcement in town at the time and he couldn’t be everywhere at once. Well, the boys continued in their prank and of course, Mr. Hays caught them in the act.
They were marched down the street to the calaboose and locked in. That ended the problem with the fire whistle for the evening, but the boys were still having fun in jail. The boys began to wiggle the bars in the windows and after a time they got them loose and they were able to crawl out the window opening. The calaboose was surrounded by a cotton gin at the time and the boys would crawl out the window and sit on cotton bales and when they saw Mr. Hays coming, they would get back in the calaboose and hold the bars in place.
About midnight, Mr. Hays snuck up on the boys and found them sitting on bales of cotton and told them to go home.
These boys were the only ones to ever break out of the Frisco
After I became seriously involved in this project there were two things I wanted to do. Build my own calaboose and spend a night in a real one. The first fantasy is coming true. I found a good carpenter who is willing to work with me to get it the way I want and not pushing to rush through and go to another job. The size is 8 x 10 and there are two rooms. One is a dedicated cell for the really bad guys and the other room is for use by the Constable and as an occasional cell when needed. The cell wall is wooden and that is authentic, copied from the calaboose in Lakeview, Texas.
That’s me during the framing phase
Cell wall and floor from old wood
Walls are up and bars installed in windows
Detail of window
Shortly after the first year into this project I decided I would like a replica calaboose in my yard. At one time, I thought I was going to get a real one that was being neglected but that does not seem likely. Therefore, I have proceeded with the construction of my very own Texas calaboose. It will be 8 x 10 feet in area and 8 feet tall. There will be one door and perhaps the room will be divided into a cell and office for the Constable. The size and number of windows has yet to be determined. However, a friend of mine fished these very old bars out of the river and gave them to me. I can’t prove they were part of a calaboose but what else they could be baffles me. They are planned for one of the windows.