Tag Archives: Georgia Jails

Rockdale County Jail, 1897, Conyers

This jail was built in 1897 to replace the first jail in Rockdale County and served the county until 1968. It was designed by Georgia’s most prolific courthouse architect, J. W. Golucke, while he was in partnership with G. W. Stewart. The interior was outfitted by the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company of St. Louis. F. P. Heifner was the contractor.

The old jail was restored by the Rockdale County Historical Society in 1975 and serves as their headquarters and a museum today.

National Register of Historic Places

Calaboose, 1890s, Euharlee

The calaboose is located adjacent to the district courthouse.

Old Jail, Leary

Thanks to Don King, former police chief of Leary, I can confirm that this was the old jail/calaboose. Mr. King writes: This is the old jail. It was once located where the library is now. The old jail was purchased by the peanut mill and moved there. The library (block building) was once the jail that replaced the wooden jail structure.

Old Gaol, 1807, Greensboro

The oldest masonry jail in Georgia, Greensboro’s ‘Old Gaol’ is distinguished by its English spelling, which seems fitting considering the structure’s appearance. Locally quarried granite was used in construction, which was patterned after European citadels known for their harsh conditions. The downstairs cells were dark and catacomb-like, reserved for particularly unsavory characters. Such prisoners were chained to the walls with absolutely no creature comforts, including heat or ventilation. Non-violent criminals were placed upstairs, where conditions weren’t much better, but at least allowed for outside light. A trap-door gallows is also present. The jail served Greene County until 1895, when a more modern jail was constructed.

Greensboro Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Old Greene County Jail, 1895, Greensboro

Within the same block in Greensboro are two historic jails, this being the ‘newer’ of the two. This Folk Victorian/Queen Anne example is typical of Georgia jails of the era, in which the sheriff kept a residence and everything was self-contained. It is now known as the L. L. Wyatt Museum, named in honor of the longtime Greene County Sheriff.

The historic marker on this site notes: This 1895 jail is named for the legendary Sheriff, Loy Lee Wyatt, who enforced the laws in Greene County for fifty-two years until his death in 1977. Sheriff L.L. Wyatt was born on January 2, 1904, in Paulding County. He was recruited to serve the citizens of Greene County due to his fast legs and honest reputation. In 1925, L.L. Wyatt began his law enforcement career as a Greene County policeman who waged a “one-man war” against the making of illegal corn whiskey. Prior to his arrival, moonshine production was considered the leading industry in Greene County and its produce was enjoyed in all of the finest hotels of Atlanta. After having rid the County of its moonshiners, Wyatt ran for the Office of Sheriff in 1940 defeating the incumbent. He served as Sheriff until he died in 1977. At the time of his death he was the longest standing Sheriff in the State, with thirty-seven years of service.

During his 37 years as Sheriff, Wyatt became a legend in his own time. Few men become legends and even fewer achieve the status of a “living legend” as did Sheriff Wyatt. He was a religious man who believed that God blessed him with protection during all of his fights, gun battles, and dangerous encounters. His law enforcement exploits exposed him to at least five gunshot wounds in the line of duty, in part due to the fact that he seldom carried a gun on his person, requiring him to retrieve it from his car at the sight of danger. In the early days of his career, when moonshiners resisted arrest, Wyatt regularly shot it out with them. He killed over a half dozen men, all of whom shot at him first.

The most famous gunfight of Sheriff Wyatt’s career occurred in 1974. He was 70 years old at the time. Bank robbers eluded a 100-car police chase that started in Wrens, Georgia, and ended in Greene County. The bank robbers had killed a teller at the bank in Wrens and had taken two women hostage. Sheriff Wyatt set up a road block midway between Union Point and Greensboro. Wyatt stood in the middle of the road as the speeding car approached. The robbers attempted to shoot him, but the gun misfired. One bank robber was killed in the ensuing battle, but both women were unharmed. Sheriff Wyatt subsequently received the award of the Peace Officer of he Year for his bravery in this incident.

Sheriff Wyatt was a family man, devoted to his wife, son, and grandchildren. He was a businessman, lending his experience to the operation and affairs of the Citizens Union Bank as a director. He was a community leader who had concern for all citizens – rich and poor, black and white. Out of a concern for these people, legend has it that Sheriff Wyatt confronted a notorious member of the Dixie Mafia and proclaimed, “These are my people and I want you to leave them alone!”

Sheriff Wyatt, also known as Mr. Sheriff, was the epitome of a community oriented police officer long before such an idea was born and served as an example for every officer to follow.


Greensboro Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places


Old Barrow County Jail, 1915, Winder

The old Barrow County Jail has served as the Barrow County Museum since 1993. The “citadel sytle” was a common form for Georgia jails in the early 20th century.

Downtown Winder Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Old Wilkes County Jail, 1891, Washington

This Romanesque Revival jail, architecturally unique in Georgia, was used until 1911 and was abandoned for a time, later being subdivided into apartments. It was designed and built by McDonald Brothers Jail Building Company of Louisville, Kentucky. The jail cells have long been removed and the privately owned structure is presently for sale..

National Register of Historic Places

Old Brooks County Jail, 1884, Quitman

This Romanesque style jail was built by Simeon A. Remington to replace an 1867 wooden jail that burned in 1880. It was used until 1980.

National Register of Historic Places

Old Screven County Jail, Sylvania

Conversations with several people in Screven County have led me to identify this as the old county jail. It was replaced in the 1930s or 1940s by a newer structure and the date of this one is unknown but likely late-19th early-20th century. Dale Reddick writes: The observation about the second story trap door placed in the floor really does suggest this was a jail and also a hanging facility (if necessary), when the open field public hanging space further along W.T. Sharpe Drive couldn’t be used. Rabun Alex Lee, Larry Waters, and I had some ‘fun’ pulling up the history of this building. There’s a very similar structure found less than a quarter-mile distant. Perhaps the same designer/ builder constructed both. These structures most probably were built following Sylvania’s Great Fire of 1897 when many new brick structures were erected.  

It was also used as apartments in the mid-20th century.

Calaboose, Sylvania

A local gentleman and two others have identified this as the old calaboose. Dale Reddick confirms: It is known as the “Caliboose,” per both Larry Waters and Rabun Alex Lee – who know Sylvania and Screven County better than most.

As discussed on the website before, calabooses were essentially holding cells/drunk tanks. The structure is in poor condition and the roof has collapsed on one side.