When the decision to restore Gallatin’s rotary jail was announced, the public was asked to help locate any items which could be returned to the jail — especially any section of jail cell bars which once encircled the prisoner cells. Several authentic sections of the heavy iron bars were located in unusual places. For instance, the Missouri Department of Transportation helped reclaim three jail cage sections partially buried under a driveway off MO-13 to protect a ditch culvert. Other sections were found on farm land.

The original curved jail cell panels were hard to find. Here state highway workmen remove concrete to expose and extract the jail panels.

A new roof for the sheriff’s residence and jail was top priority. Then a new brick exterior for the octagon-shaped jail was completed, once it was confirmed that brick replacement would not jeopardize the jail’s standing for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Photos of the work to rebuild the brickworks are shown below:

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A number of volunteers answered the call for a “Work Day” as shown in these photos below. Many hands helped remove debris to prepare interior rooms of the sheriff’s residence for new drywall and paint.

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While the restoration was underway at the jail property in Gallatin, inmates involved in vo-tech training at Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameon, MO, fabricated metal parts for a stationary display of the squirrel cage jail using specifications off blueprints of the original rotary jail from the Pauley Company. New jail pieces where made so that the parts could be transported and reassembled inside the jail at Gallatin. Many fabricated parts were welded but the welding was hidden from view in final display since welding, obviously, was not a practice in 1889.

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Like any house or building, repairs are endless and more improvements needed to completely restore a structure to its original status. This photo shows the 1889 Squirrel Cage Jail and sheriff’s residence after renovations were completed in 1993. Work then began to design and mount indoor historical displays for those visiting the jail.