The 1895 Jail still serves Milam County as a Historical Museum
Have you ever driven through downtown Cameron and wondered if the old red brick building at the corner of Main and Fannin Streets is abandoned? Well, it is far from that!
The historic 1895 structure no longer serves as the Milam County Jail. However, it has been in use as part of the Milam County Historical Museum since 1978. The old jailhouse, along with the main museum building at 112 W. 1st Street, serves all the citizens of our county with displays and exhibits that preserve our historic past and our proud Milam County roots.
Inside the walls of the imposing structure, the jail’s history has been well preserved. The Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Mo., was contracted to erect the grand old prison by the Milam County Commissioners in March of 1895. The Romanesque Revival designed building features three floors and an infamous “hanging tower.”
The first floor is dominated by the original living quarters for the Milam County Sheriff and his family. Imposing cell blocks can still be viewed on the second and third floors of the old structure. These cells housed the incarcerated of Milam County until 1975, when a new modern jail was built.
The “hanging tower” at the top of the jail impresses many visitors, but it was never used for an execution.
Why, you might ask? Because in the early days of Texas, hangings were conducted outdoors, usually on the courthouse grounds. Wow, if those old trees could talk! While the old jail’s tower simply remains silent.
Still, “abandoned” is not a description one can apply to the old Milam County Jail Building. Thanks to the efforts and dedication of the Milam County Historical Museum Board’s many volunteers, visitors can catch a glimpse of our county’s rich history at both the jail museum and the Milam County Museum on first street. Currently, the museum staff is having a half-price sale on books written about the jail’s history and Christmas ornaments depicting an image of the grand old structure. So Visit, Thursday through Saturday from 10AM-3PM and see for yourself that History is alive and well in downtown Cameron, Texas.