A Brief History of the Chautauqua County Jail

Image by John O. Bowman, taken from the Chautauqua County Historical Society Bowman Collection

Above is an image of the construction of the “new” county jail in 1939. A few days ago on the Chautauqua County Historical Society Facebook Page we shared an image of the fountain in Mayville Park – with the county jail in the background. One of the comments was from Greg Osterstuck, who shared this timeline regarding the history of the county jail, as relayed by C.O. Walter Gunther – Department Historian at the jail (note the exponentially rising cost of construction over the years):

  • 1815 – Original jail built at a cost of $1,500.
  • November 1832 – The jail was rebuilt for $1,166.66.
  • 1835 – A brick jail was built (60 x 35 ft) at a cost of $5,000.
  • 1847 – An addition was built for $225.00.
  • 1859 – Land was bought (3/4 acre) from Dr. Prendergast.
  • 1860 – Jail was repaired and improved.
  • 1865 – A side lot bought for $50.
  • 1895 – Annex was built for $15,000.
  • 1901 – Jail was burned in a fire started on Blanchard Street, addition was done after fire and used until 1939. House for Sheriff was built next to jail which is now village park.
  • Dec 10, 1939 – New jail was built [see image above] at a cost of $239,294.30. The new facility included a tunnel leading from jail to county courthouse.
  • 1975 – 58 x 46 ft. new addition was built for $540,000.
  • 2007 – Final construction adding two pods of 48 inmates, renovation of old jail cost $16 million.
This entry was posted in Images of the Past, News & Notices, Photos and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.