The Old County Jail & Sheriffs Quarters
Located on North Main Street, this location also is home to an authentic log cabin that was built by Appanoose County resident Joseph Bland in the 1850’s. Currently, this property of the museum only opens to the public on Pancake Day. This location of the museum consists of the old county jail, the attached Sheriff’s quarters, and the Bland Cabin that was moved here from it’s former location in the northwestern part of the county.
The Sheriffs Residence was built by the County in 1871. It is unmistakably the oldest building on North Main Street, as the grade of street has been raised, leaving it four of five feet below the street level. The architectural style of the residence is an I House, fashionable in the mid 1800’s to 1890. It is two rooms wide and one room deep, with a central hall and staircase. Once a lovely historic home, it is in dire need of renovation. As a non-profit organization, donations would be welcomed to help us restore this nice home back to its warm and lovely original state.
The Joseph and Ailcey Bland Cabin was painstakingly moved to this location by carefully disassembling it, numbering the logs and reassembling it at its present location in 1974. Built in the 1850’s it was originally located about six miles north of Plano. Joseph Bland was listed in the 1856 census in Independence Township, giving his occupation as a carpenter. The site may have been near Teagarden Bluffs, an area that now overlooks the upper reaches of Rathbun Lake. The cabin was rediscovered by Bob Clark in 1972, who moved it to his farm west of Centerville. In 1974, he donated it to the Appanoose County Historical Society.
The Jail is a place that conjures up memories of the darker side of Appanoose County’s history. Its dark, cold interior was used in a movie that was filmed in Appanoose County in 2003. The jail is attached to the east side of the sheriffs residence. It is 42 feet by 42 feet and consists of two rooms. In 1904, steel cages were installed by the Pauley Company of St. Louis. Plumbing was also installed. These were considered to be great improvements in sanitary conditions and safety.