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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Southport in Brunswick County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Old Jail

 
 
Old Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 15, 2008
1. Old Jail Marker
Inscription. On February 27, 1904, ground was broken for the “new” jail. Contractor A.J. Robbins received the contract with a low bid of $6,738. Its construction is “a concrete foundation with brick walls, laid in 1:6 bond constructed with a six-course belt and little woodwork.” The bond refers to the pattern in which the brick was laid and is visible as you look at the building. Typical of the period, ceilings on both the first and second floors are concrete and molded in a barrel form. To make the ceilings, metal forms that looked like barrel halves were used to hold the concrete to form the ceiling. Unlike most concrete applications, the forms were never removed and can be seen throughout the building. Windows and doors in the building have bars and were constructed with segmental arch openings.

This “new” facility replaced a two-story wooden building described as “old and dilapidated.” The building served as the county’s jail facilities from its construction until 1971 when an annex was completed. The annex is located directly behind the Old Jail. Both buildings fell into disuse when the county seat was moved from Southport to Bolivia in 1978.

When built, the first floor provided
Marker and Old Jail image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 15, 2008
2. Marker and Old Jail
living quarters for the jailer and his family. Later one of the small rooms on the first floor was used as a property room to store items taken in police searches. Located on the second floor, are two steel cells—4 bunks with a commode and washbasin and a runabout around the perimeter of the room. The bars are flat iron riveted together. Windows throughout the building and the front doors are all barred.

Perhaps its most famous “criminal” was Sissy Spacek, who was jailed during scenes from the movie Crimes of the Heart, which was filmed in the building in the summer of 1986. Beginning in 1998, the historical society began restoring the jail in order to open it to the public. Currently the Old Jail houses a small museum and serves as the headquarters for the Southport Historical Society. The “annex” is the home for the Southport Friends of the Library.

Walk back in time by taking a stroll through the building. Visitors today can see the cells and read the graffiti left on the walls by prisoners from by-gone years.
 
Location. 33° 55.233′ N, 78° 0.967′ W. Marker is in Southport, North Carolina, in Brunswick County. Touch for map.
Old Brunswick County Jail image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 15, 2008
3. Old Brunswick County Jail
Sign reads “Built in 1904 to replace the old City Jail which was destroyed by fire. Used until 1971 when a new jail was erected to the rear. Present home of the Southport Historical Society.”
Marker is in this post office area: Southport NC 28461, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Railroad & Religion on Rhett Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Smithville Burying Ground (within shouting distance of this marker); Franklin Square (approx. 0.2 miles away); Southport’s First Fire Alarm (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Johnston (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Johnston (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Johnston (approx. 0.2 miles away); Josiah Martin (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Southport.
 
More about this marker. Marker has floor plans of the building on the left and a Ledger Reports of Incarceration on the right.
 
Across the Street from the Old Jail is the Shell Museum image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 15, 2008
4. Across the Street from the Old Jail is the Shell Museum
On this day it was closed and no hours of operation were posted.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 9, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,631 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 9, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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