These scenes were taken during an open house after rotary jail renovations were completed. The celebration included a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mike Kemna of Western Missouri Correction Center doing the honors. This was the first of many public tours offered at the jail. For many years an open house was hosted during Gallatin’s fall Chautauqua festival; appointments for touring the rotary jail can be made at any approved time.
An open house at the Squirrel Cage Jail was evidence of community support as fundraising for financing improvements continued. For many this was a first inside glimpse of the architectural oddity; for others a visit sparked childhood memories since Gallatin’s school was just west from the jail across the street.
Officials from Western Missouri Correctional Center, including Mike Kemna, performed official ribbon cutting ceremonies during an open house after reconstruction of a static display of the unique squirrel cage jail was completed.
A number of open house events as well as other fundraising activities helped create public awareness of plans to restore the unique 1889 Squirrel Cage Jail. Here Carol O’Hare hands out informational sheets to visitors signing the entrance register.
Visitors are attracted to the Squirrel Cage Jail for various reasons, including the graffiti still evident on the iron wall panels surrounding jail cells. In appropriate messages etched into the paint was removed, but many names, dates and outbursts can still be seen as testimonies of those once spending time in jail here.
Seeing the center axle of the rotary jail helps to understand how the squirrel cage actually worked. Here for a glimpse were visitors to the jail our tour during an open house after completion of 1992 renovations.
When visitors look opposite the unique squirrel cage jail, many are fascinated by the graffiti still evident on jail wall panels. Each instance of graffiti tells its own story (inappropriate etchings found in the paint were removed). This was a count jail housing all sorts of people arrested for misdemeanors and felony crime.
Promotions and fundraising events helped generate interest an support for rotary jail renovations. A significant fundraiser was the sale of engraved bricks for sidewalk display surrounding the rotary jail.
Restoring the 1889 Squirrel Cage Jail required an ongoing effort to publicize efforts to gain community support. Here members of Gallatin Rotary Club consider the details of a table model of the jail on display at McDonald Tea Room. Among those showing interest is Dale Alexander, Larry Richards, Brice Terry, Vance Hefley,and Danny Dixon.
A scale model of the Daviess County 1889 Squirrel Cage Jail was positioned in a display case for promotional use. At different times this displayed at the Jesse James Farm near Kearney and also at neighboring Jamesport, where Amish ways attract visitors in huge numbers annually.
The incredible link of the Estate of Helen Roosevelt to Daviess County’s squirrel cage jail is described on this plaque on display in the jailhouse. Gallatin attorney Henry Clay McDougal was family relation to Ms. Roosevelt, leading to an endowment for the historic jail’s use as a visitors’ center.
The first of four in a series of china plates, sold by the Gallatin Community Development Association in 1993, feature the 1889 Daviess County Squirrel Cage Jail. The plates coincided with the re-opening of the antique jail. Shown are tourism committee co-chairmen Carol O’Hare and Dan Lockridge.