Jail - 1 very tall step

Old Cowtown Museum Tour

Jail - 1 very tall step

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Old Cowtown Museum


The Jail located in the Business District at Old Cowtown Museum represents the city's move to a more formal law enforcement system. Wichita’s first city jail was constructed during the summer of 1871. The jail, or calaboose as it was commonly referred to, was constructed of cottonwood two‑by‑sixes laid flat and spiked together with square nails. The construction and size of the jail make it evident that it was not meant for long‑term prisoners.

The jail was used mostly for cases where drunkenness and rowdiness had erupted into violence. It was a “cooling off tank” for those whose public behavior exceeded the limits deemed acceptable by the community.

It was set back from other buildings to keep ladies sensibilities safe from the vulgar cowboys who may holler and swear.

The jail had solid wooden doors before doors of metal bars were added.

One cell has metal bars that many take selfies behind.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Old Cowtown Museum Tour


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