Old Calaboose Jail

Lincoln County

Elsberry’s old calaboose was constructed c.1896 using limestone donated by local resident, Ira Smith from his rock quay on Page Branch Creek. Local citizen Effie Watts, a member of the Smith family lived in Elsberry and remembered that her Uncle Ira and his son Thomas (Effie’s father) had helped bring the stones into town, carried on a sled pulled by oxen. The stones are 17”X17”X36” and the floor stones are 36 inches wide and 45 inches in length. The calaboose is fitted with an iron bar cell on the inside with a potbellied stove, a wood bunk and a spittoon. The window and door are both fitted with thick iron closer under the care of the Elsberry Historical Preservation Society, the calaboose has become somewhat of a roadside attraction, with many rural vacationers stopping to take pictures. The Society is currently working on directional signage, as they realize the value of heritage tourism on the local economy. Through the years seasonal freezing and thawing have caused the limestone to separate and spall, causing pieces to fall, especially around the base of the structure. The Historical Preservation Society would like to incorporate the adjacent Robinson House and calaboose into a local museum complex. Given the very limited funds of the Elsberry Historical Preservation Society, they are hoping that the listing on Missouri’s Places in Peril will bring heightened interest – and funds – to this interesting and unique historic place.

Listed in 2015 and as a watched property in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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