YOUNG COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Preservation Texas, a non-profit that works to conserve the historic resources within the state, is highlighting a century-old building in Young County.
The Old County Jail in Graham was named one of the most endangered places in the state, and some local historians hope this attention will help them in their cause to prevent its demolition.
Right in the center of Graham’s downtown square is where you can find the old Young County Jail – a red brick building that has now been standing strong for 100 years.
“Not only is it an old, historic jail, but it’s in really exceptional shape,” Julia Cox with the Young County Historical Commission said.
The jail has been a part of so much history since it’s completion in 1921 – history that Cox knows a lot about.
“Well the Twenties was a really dynamic time for Young County, just like it was for Wichita Falls and Lawton’s region,” Cox said. “That was the boom of the oil era, and we also had prohibition at the time, so this jail was utilized quite a bit during that time.”
Young County officials are now considering the demolition of the building in order to create more seating in its downtown area, but Commission member Susan Smith said the historical representation should be taken into more consideration.
“We think that’s part of the problem, is that, you know, when you grow up here, you see this building every day, and, until you start talking to people and asking them their stories, start digging through the newspapers, you don’t really realize what you’ve got,” Smith said.
Preservation Texas, a non-profit focused on preserving the state’s history, noticed this building and gave it some unique attention, naming it one of the most endangered places in the state of Texas.
“They heard we were trying to save the jail, that it’s in jeopardy, but it has a marker, but it’s future is still uncertain,” Smith said. “So they came to our rescue and said, ‘We would like to feature you in our list for 2021,’ and so that was just a huge honor for us.”
It’s an honor that Cox hopes will help bring second thoughts to county officials looking to tear it down.
“If we could really put in some thought into what we do with a rarity, something so scarce because once this building is gone, there is no replacing it,” Cox said.
Young County leaders plan to discuss the building’s future at the County Commissioner’s court meeting on Monday, January 24.