Time is not on the old jail’s side

Old Jail
By: 
FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD

The old Laclede County Jail was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.  A lot of the locals take pride in that. However, much of what made a walk through it interesting is gone now. Most of its furnishings were removed for display elsewhere, leaving only a building with some interesting internal architecture too dangerous to tour.

According to paperwork filed with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Laclede County officials turned the building over to the Laclede County Historical Society in 1955. When the Society handed the keys back to the county in 2013 by Historical Society President Mark Spangler’s reckoning, the old building’s kitchen floor was so rotted one could see the flooded cellar beneath it. Presiding Commissioner Danny Rhoades and Spangler both believe the building has some basic structural flaws that would make restoring it very costly.

They independently arrived at the same $500,000 estimate: Spangler speculated on the cost for restoring it to a usable condition, and Rhoades, for demolishing it. Rhoades is probably correct when he says the faction that wants to save the building and the one that wants to remove it will be vocal when and if a decision is made.

It has sat empty for a few years now. A red brick dangerously juts out near the top of its northeast wall, making it look like a game of Jenga about to find a victor.

It joined the ranks of the Ploger-Moneymaker House, abandoned by the Laclede County Historical Society when money for its restoration dried up and membership in the Society dwindled.

For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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The Lebanon Daily Record

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