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Houston Historic Jail, Houston

#94 of 129 in Museums in Alabama
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Houston Jail is a historic jail building in Houston, Winston County, Alabama. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1975.
The building is the only known surviving log jail in the state and the only public building surviving from the time that the county seat was located in Houston. It is believed by architectural historians to have been built circa 1868, when the now destroyed courthouse is known to have been constructed. Houston was made the seat in 1858, but the minutes from a grand jury meeting in 1867 reported the need to build a courthouse and a jail. The county seat was moved to Double Springs in 1884, resulting in Houston shrinking to the small unincorporated community that it is today.
It was converted into a residence for the poor in 1933, with the original split shake roof replaced with one of galvanized metal at this time. The roof has since been restored back to shake.
The jail is built of large squared logs joined by half notched corners. It measures 20x with a front gabled roof. The interior is divided into two rooms with an interlocking log wall. A full raised foundation of fieldstone supports the structure. The interior of the cell features continuous boards, turned at right angles to the logs and secured in place with 2.5in wooden nails to prevent prisoners from sawing their way out. Likewise, the ceiling is formed by closely spaced 10x logs and the floor is plank over similarly spaced 10x logs. The small square windows originally featured meshed iron bars. The original door was made of three solid layers of 1.5in plank boards laid at angles to one another.
A visit to Houston Historic Jail represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Houston trip itinerary website to plot your vacation.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
26 reviews
  • Interesting construction of this old jail. I enjoyed seeing Eagle Scout projects at this location. Free, but left a donation.  more »
  • Cute little log jail from days gone by. Clean and well-kept. Can eat lunch at Chef Troy's after you visit the jail.  more »
  • Well worth a stop if you are in the area. Well preserved and easy access. No admission fee, but you can donate if you want to. Best to include as a stop while in the Bankhead National Forrest area. Close to many other local areas of interest.
  • Awesome! WIllis Farris is my 4th great grandfather...had to see this passing through Alabama. Go to Chef Troys across the street for a great meal!

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