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Jail Visit

I left the Herkimer County Historical Society and went to the opposite of the Historic Four Corners, the 1834 Jail. The Jail is not open for tours on a regular basis, so one must seize the opportunity when it is available.

I joined a tour already in progress, but I had not missed much. Jim Greiner was the guide. He wrote the book Last Woman Hanged: Roxalana Druse, about one of the Jail’s most famous inmates. I’ve read the book and heard Greiner speak about it. It’s an excellent book, and he is a dynamic speaker. He is an entertaining tour guide as well, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

I toured the Jail last year on Museum Day (and wrote a blog post about it). There was not a huge difference in restoration from last year, although the Friends of the 1834 Jail have accomplished a lot since the time they started. Money, as always, is the problem. They are not eligible for many grants, because the Jail can never be fully handicap accessible.

I enjoyed seeing once again the cell which held Chester Gilette, the Jail’s other famous inmate. I was once again sorry we could not go up to the third floor, where Roxalana Druse was housed.

Everybody on the tour seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. One fellow mentioned a murderer from the 1960s who had probably stayed in the Jail. Apparently the guy shot a girl in the Frankfort Police Station. I hope somebody writes a book about that one, if nobody has already. I highly recommended Last Woman Hanged to a lady, but I did not see whether she purchased it.

I don’t know when the 1834 Jail will hold another event, but I certainly intend to watch for it. I may even join Friends of the 1834 Jail and try to help them raise funds. Maybe eventually I’ll get a look at that mysterious third floor.

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