GRAHAM (KFDX/KJTL) — The Young County Jail opened in 1921. The three-story jail is located in the city square of Graham and cannot be missed.
“Another jail on Fore Street, the 1878 jail that there were too many escapes from the jail. They realized that they needed something better. And with prohibition and oil boom, there was a lot of men with time on their hands here in town. And so this jail was built to remedy problems with the old jails,” Young County Historical Commission Co-Chair Susan Smith said.
This 1,575-square-foot facility closed in 1977 and turned into a crisis center. Ironically, the old jail served as a safe haven for abused women and children.
“It was part of the Santa Claus bank robbery back in, I think, 1927. The bank robbers from Cisco were apprehended in Young County and held there for a brief amount of time,” Smith said.
Although this jail is more than a century old, the 12-inch thick concrete walls were built to last.
In 2020, it was recognized as a Texas Historical Landmark, and since the building is still standing strong, the Young County Historical Commission’s goal is to put it back to use.
“This is just a big a built piece of our history. I mean, it just says, you know, we have some older buildings, but this is when we became the town that we are today,” Smith said.
Two years ago, the jail was added as one of nine sites on the state’s most endangered list. The city has applied for a $20,000 grant to save the building through the Texas Preservation Trust Fund.
“We’re going crazy trying to get ready for the July application. We’re raising funds, we’re getting letters of support, filling out the new application, talking with architects to line them up for the plan. And so then I think we found out in November if we get the grant,” Smith said.
The commission is asking for the community’s help as well. They recently set up a GoFundMe to assist in meeting the match for the grant.
“It served two wonderful purposes. It’s still got support in it and it,” Smith said.