Houston Jail

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Houston Jail
Houston Jail is located in Alabama
Houston Jail
Houston Jail is located in the United States
Houston Jail
LocationOff U.S. 278 on SR 63
Houston, Alabama
Coordinates34°8′28″N 87°15′27″W / 34.14111°N 87.25750°W / 34.14111; -87.25750Coordinates: 34°8′28″N 87°15′27″W / 34.14111°N 87.25750°W / 34.14111; -87.25750
Area0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
NRHP reference #75000331[1]
Added to NRHPJune 5, 1975

The Houston Jail is a historic jail building in Houston, Winston County, Alabama. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1975.[1]


The building is the only known surviving log jail in the state and the only public building surviving from the time that the county seat was located in Houston. It is believed by architectural historians to have been built circa 1868, when the now destroyed courthouse is known to have been constructed. Houston was made the seat in 1858, but the minutes from a grand jury meeting in 1867 reported the need to build a courthouse and a jail. The county seat was moved to Double Springs in 1884, resulting in Houston shrinking to the small unincorporated community that it is today.[2]

It was converted into a residence for the poor in 1933, with the original split shake roof replaced with one of galvanized metal at this time.[2] The roof has since been restored back to shake.


The jail is built of large squared logs joined by half notched corners. It measures 20 by 20 feet (6.1 m × 6.1 m) with a front gabled roof. The interior is divided into two rooms with an interlocking log wall. A full raised foundation of fieldstone supports the structure. The interior of the cell features continuous boards, turned at right angles to the logs and secured in place with 2.5-inch (6.4 cm) wooden nails to prevent prisoners from sawing their way out. Likewise, the ceiling is formed by closely spaced 10 by 10 inches (25 cm × 25 cm) logs and the floor is plank over similarly spaced 10 by 6 inches (25 cm × 15 cm) logs. The small square windows originally featured meshed iron bars. The original door was made of three solid layers of 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) plank boards laid at angles to one another.[2]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c Jackson R. Stell (May 8, 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Houston Jail" (PDF). Alabama Historical Commission. Alabama Historical Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2012.

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