Monthly Archives: April 2014

April 30, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

I moved some of the tabs on the home page to beneath the Project tab.  This seemed logical to me since they are referenced in that discussion.  This reduces the number of tabs on the home page.  I would appreciate any comments regarding this decision in terms of it is easier to access or seems more logical.  They can always be moved back.

April 24, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

I have been busy with adding to the website, making corrections, and moving things around.  Last night I did some work on Acknowledgments.  It is important to me to mention everyone who helped me.  Some told me about existing calabooses while others said they are gone or pointed me in the direction of resources that will help me with my research.  Others shared memories of the calaboose in their town or memories of the town during that time.  This project could not be as successful as it is without the help of others.  For now, they are listed alphabetically by town under the main heading TEXAS.  Those in other states are mentioned as well.

Today, I experienced what I think is a major discovery.  To those familiar with websites this is probably common knowledge but to me it will be a huge help to those wanting to know more about calabooses in their town.  In my discussion of each calaboose I reference the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map where I saw it and provide a link to the Sanborn Company so readers can learn more about this very impressive mapping program that took place throughout the country.  I mention the map by town with date and sheet number as well is street names and city block numbers.  This information will be useful as is to those familiar with the town.  However, I just discovered that I can link to the actual map.  For example, there was a small one-story concrete calaboose in Arp, Texas (Smith County) in 1939 in city block 22 near the corner of  Main and North Longview streets.   If you click on the link to the map in the discussion of Arp you will be taken to the map that depicts it.  I wanted to show the map here but the symbol for linking is not highlighted so I don’t know how to do it.

I  plan to spend most of my time today linking calabooses to maps.





April 21, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

The past few days I have added some new information and pictures but mainly I have been working on organization of the website.  Today, I added a poem about a calaboose and linked my site to the site of the author.  Most of my effort has been spent with the tab “The Project” because it is here that I discuss the project in detail.  I foresee this information being changed and added to for at least the next few weeks before I am satisfied that it is what I want.  I am not used to knowing that my writing is available to the world before I am finished and that makes me a little uncomfortable because some readers may decide that my format is not very good and leave the site not knowing that a later version may be more informative and to their liking.

April 13, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

On April 9, 2014, Rhonda Holley accompanied me on a calaboose recording trip to West Texas.  We stayed at the Super 8 about eight miles east of Ozona.  Good place and reasonably priced.  Two stories and outside entry.  Nice atrium with pool and jacuzzi (lots of plants) in the center and each room has a sliding glass door to access the area.  Restaurant not special and expensive.  Also, RV camping next door.

Great restaurant in Ozona called Pepes.  It has Mexican and American and the food is very good.  Best Migas we have ever had.  Coffee not bad either.  Atmosphere really special, and quite a shock for a small West Texas town.  Adornments consist of Day of the Dead statues and lots of Rock and Roll pictures and memorabilia including a jacket signed by the Rolling Stones when they passed through.  Owner is a really good artist and has a good painting of Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

2014-04-11 08.06.29

We documented calabooses in Best, Goldsmith, Monahans, and Stiles.  I added the photos and am working on the text and getting site numbers.  We found one in Fort Stockton that we believe was a calaboose but the locals we talked to say it has always been used for storage.  That is true as long as they remember but it would be unusual in our opinion for a very small storage room to have two doors.  It is on the courthouse square, made of rock, and probably was the jail until the two-story county jail was built.

The calaboose in Best is special because it is the only building left in this ghost town next to the railroad tracks.  I made several calls to Big Lake before this trip and nobody knew anything about it.  I found out about it when I saw a picture on the Internet.  It is on the south side of the tracks in a field of thorns (literally).  Glad we got there because it will not last much longer because the mixture of cement and aggregate was not sufficient and little if any rebar was used.

The calaboose in Monahans is on the grounds of the Million Barrel Museum just outside of town.  This is an interesting place with a very nice vintage caboose and a huge pit that once reportedly held one million barrels of crude oil.  It was moved here from another part of town for preservation.

Monahans caboose

The calaboose in Big Lake was moved here from Stiles, now a ghost town with only the ruins of the 1911 rock courthouse and a couple of metal buildings left.  The courthouse is very impressive and worth a visit.

1Next to it is the vault with a very impressive arched ceiling.

2In Pecos, we expected to record a calaboose that was reportedly moved there from Langtry, home of judge Roy Bean.  Got there and found out that it is a replica of what a calaboose may have looked like and had nothing to do with the town of Langtry.

There is a very good museum in an old hotel and every room is filled with exhibits.  Takes quite a bit of time to see the entire place.  Also on the grounds is a to scale replica of the Judge Roy Bean saloon and another vintage caboose.

Pecos cabooseWe also documented several interesting buildings including one very unusual one that looks just like a calaboose but it is not very tall and partially underground.  A colleague told me that he thinks it is a storm shelter.

shelterOverall, we drove 1300 miles in four days and had quite an adventure.  Great restaurant in the tiny town of Richland Springs (we had BLT sandwiches).  Found out that there had been calabooses in the past at Iraan, Richland Springs, and Sheffield.  These will be added to the website under “Vanished.”


April 6, 2013 (by Bill Moore)

Most of my work today consisted of adding calabooses to the website that I have visited.  I wrote part of what I think defines a calaboose.  It is important to remember that any jail can be referred to as a calaboose but historically only the tiny ones have been so called.  When I look at the Sanborn maps and document past and present jails I use the terms on the maps.  I have found that not one county jail so far has been referred to as a calaboose.  With very few exceptions, a calaboose is very small and only one story.  Other names include lockup and jail.  At the beginning of this project I thought that the calaboose was a feature restricted to small towns, usually unincorporated.  That is not the case.  It was not uncommon for a calaboose (labelled as such on the maps) to have been constructed in a county seat.  Sometimes, they preceded the formal county jail and probably served as an interim lockup until the big jail could be built.  Other times, they co-existed with the county jail.  Possibly, there was still a need for a small lockup as well as the big jail.  The range in size of those buildings that I have included as a calaboose is about 72 square feet to over 400 square feet.  The larger examples have multiple cells.

April 5, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

Today, I drove to Normangee in Leon County to visit with Nelda Pierson and Pat Martin about the old calaboose that used to be in their town.  I learned that it consisted of a metal cage or cell block inside a brick building.  I suspect these cages were expensive because they had to be ordered from a company who made them unless some local had the skill to do it.  The metal cages in Crawford and Montgomery were both very well made by the  Pauly Jail Building Company of St. Louis, Missouri, a firm that is still in business.  What I was able to learn about the Normangee calaboose is that it was about 100 square feet in size and that the cage filled up most of the building.  Nelda was born in 1923 and remembers seeing prisoners in it when she was very young and it was still there when she went off to college in Waco in 1940.  Pat is the former newspaper editor and he once tried to get the town to preserve the cage and move it to their city park where there it could be seen by others along with a few small wooden cabins.  Tonight, I plan to enter more data and Rhonda may come over and help with some of the technical questions I have.

April 3, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

I forgot to mention that I also added maps depicting floor plans of the various calabooses in this study.  After I had visited a number of this buildings it became apparent that there was variation in not only the size and materials used but also the floor plan.  So far, I have documented calabooses with one, two, and three rooms or cells.  Lili G. Lyddon has been drafting maps for me by hand to use in my archaeological reports for many years and I have commissioned her to make these drawings to scale.  There are only about three maps that have yet to be completed.  Also, the photo on the Home Page will be fixed as soon as possible.  It is distorted because of the type of image I had available.  We are considering a montage of photos as an option to just one as is the case now.

April 3, 2014 (by Bill Moore)

Today, I added jails that do not fit my definition of a calaboose.  Since I spent time visiting and documenting them I want to share the information with others who might be interested.  The one in Trinity is in very poor condition and I would not be surprised to see it demolished someday.  It is, in my opinion, important to document as many historic buildings as possible while they are still standing regardless of condition.  The floor plan of this particular jail is unlike any of the others I have seen and I am grateful to have the opportunity to visit it.  Two of the jails were used to transport prisoners to work in the fields or on the roads.  They were pulled with animals or trucks and they represent an interesting variation from the norm.  The jail in Memphis qualifies as a calaboose by its overall appearance and size but the fact that it is described on the Sanborn map as a “road camp” places it (in my opinion) in a different category.  It is the only one I have seen with this designation.  I also wrote a bit about myself in the “Author” section and may add more later.