Grapeland restores century-old jail house


POSTED: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 10:20pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 9:27am

The Grapeland community is working to preserve its past, by renovating a former jail house from the 20th century.

KETK spoke with a member of the Economic Development Corporation, Wayland Woolsey, who said, "We just want to bring it back to its original grandeur so that we will have something for the children to come up here and look at, they can play in the little park here and they can look at it, and know part of the history of Grapeland". The Grapeland Economic Development Corporation donated $2,000 to have the jail restored. Woolsey said, "Anything this old in the city has some historic value which we want to preserve".

The jail was built in 1906 during a time when Grapeland was considered a "tough" town where the whiskey flowed freely. Woolsey said, "The railroads tended to bring a few unsavory characters here on Saturday nights. So they would frequent the general stores and maybe they might have a little bit too much to nip on the bottle, and they'd get a little rowdy". The jail was built from private contributions through community residents. It has two holding rooms with no personal facilities or beds. Each cell can hold as many people as the officer deemed necessary, easily containing 16 adults. The current Grapeland Police Chief, Chuck Franklin, said, "It was actually a mainstay for the community to help some of these unsavory characters be held until they could place them elsewhere". So the jail kept the community safe, and reminds the community of its rich history.

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