Pottawattamie County Jail

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The Historic Squirrel Cage Jail, former Pottawattamie County Jail
Council Bluffs Old Jail.JPG
Pottawattamie County Jail is located in Iowa
Pottawattamie County Jail
Pottawattamie County Jail is located in the US
Pottawattamie County Jail
Location 226 Pearl St.
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Coordinates 41°16′35″N 95°50′39″W / 41.27639°N 95.84417°W / 41.27639; -95.84417Coordinates: 41°16′35″N 95°50′39″W / 41.27639°N 95.84417°W / 41.27639; -95.84417
Built 1885
NRHP Reference # 72000481 [1]
Added to NRHP March 16, 1972

The Pottawattamie County Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States was built in 1885 and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[1] The building is a Squirrel Cage Jail, also known as a Rotary Jail.


Construction of the jail was simultaneous with that of the county’s new courthouse, which was finished in 1888.[2] It was designed by William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh of Indianapolis, Indiana.[2] It was built at a cost of $30,000.[3] The building was one of 18 such jails that were built in the United States and the only one that was three stories tall.[3] The front part of the jail had offices for the jailer, kitchen, trustee cells and quarters for women. The rest of the building is made up of pie-shaped cells that revolved inside of a cage. The building was designed for maximum security with minimal contact between the prisoners and the jailers.[2] The building was used as a jail until 1969.[3] In 1971 the Council Bluffs Park Board acquired the building and in 1977 the county historical society took ownership of the building and maintains it as a museum.


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c "Pottawattamie County IA". Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b c "Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail". Historical Society of Pottawattamie County. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

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