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The oldest buildings in Centerville, Iowa

Monday, November 09, 2015

When it comes to forming governments, one of the priority tasks is figuring out how to keep order and deal with criminal behavior. Appanoose County was officially organized in 1846 and by 1855 had its first jail, a small stone building.

 

This early jail became inadequate by 1866 and prisoners were taken to the Ottumwa jail. In 1871, the county’s Board of Supervisors approved of having a new jail built for $10,000. The jail and sheriff’s residence were completed in 1872 and were situated a block north of the Appanoose County Courthouse in Centerville, Iowa. Amazingly, they are STILL in existence, making the old jail and sheriff’s residence the oldest county buildings in Centerville.

 

The jail is constructed of brick and stone and measures 42 x 42 feet. The interior, which has two rooms, is cold and dark, providing the atmosphere for a movie setting in 2003. The jail was improved in 1904 at a cost of $5,000, with the iron cages being replaced with steel and indoor plumbing added.

 

The sheriff’s residence, which is attached to the jail, was built out of brick in an “I House” style of architecture.

 

Both of the buildings are owned by the Appanoose County Historical Society. Because the buildings are in need of renovation, they are only open to the public during Centerville’s annual Pancake Day. They are on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Centerville’s Town Square historic district.


For more information on the jail and sheriff’s residence, visit http://appanoosecosheriff.org/jail_history.htm or contact the Appanoose County Historical Society: http://www.appanoosehistory.com/indexREG.html.

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Appanoose County Fast Facts

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