Stephen F. Austin State University

Peek into Panola (August 2013)

Peek into Panola (August 2013)

Peek into Panola (August 2013)
By Vina Lee

By 1891, Panola County was a center of development for the cotton industry and the location of the county seat with a court house in the town square.

The need for a permanent jail house was evident. John Bradley sold a 50 X 100 foot lot to the county where they built a two story building of red brick with iron doors, bars and cells on the second floor with two cells with hallways.

Panola country sheriffs often used the jail as their residence serving as custodians of the jail and also made it home to a child born in jail in the early 1900's.

A new courthouse and jail was built in 1953 and the old jail house became the Carthage Book Club historical museum. It was listed as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1967 and the Panola County Bicentennial Commission got the Old Jail was registered as a National Historic Shrine in 1976.

U.S. Representative Wright Patman dedicated the Old Jail, the oldest building in Carthage and a State Historical Medallion was placed on the front near the doorway in 1966. It is still used today as a library and museum for ancestry historical research.

213 North Shelby St.
Carthage, Texas