Old Mc Donald County jail now on the National Register of Historic Places

Lee Ann Murphy
Community Editor
This vintage photo shows the jail in its heyday.

Built of stone in 1904, the one story stone structure served as the McDonald County Jail until 1992, more than eight decades and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of just three sites in the county.

The Old McDonald County Jail is the oldest remaining jail. It replaced a log building with the only access through the roof which burned in 1888. Until 1904, when the old jail was built, no jail facility existed in the county and prisoners were transported to other communities including Neosho. Today, the building is used to store county records.

The jail was built after voters approved a bond issue for a new jail in November 1902 and it was completed in July, 1904. A total of 18 sheriffs used the jail.

THe old jail is located at 200 East Third Street in Pineville.

On Friday, July 24th, 2020 the Missouri State Preservation Office announced that the Old McDonald County Jail was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the Department of Interior. This designation is the third for McDonald County. The other two are McDonald County historic landmarks, the Iron Bridge in Powell and the Historic Courthouse on the Square in Pineville.

Located on the historic "jail lot" set aside in the early years of the county for a jail, the Old McDonald County Jail will soon receive a plaque to display it's place on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt was president, after the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. He won the 1904 November election.

Average wages were 22 cents an hour or around $200 to $400 a year. Only 6% of Americans were high school graduates and 95% of doctors did not have a college degree. Sugar cost 4 cents a pound and eggs averaged 14 cents a dozen. The big event of the year was the World's Fair in St. Louis, which ran from April 30-December 1. 19 million people from 63 countries visited the fair. Foods introduced at the fair included hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy and ice cream cones. The Olympics were also held in St. Louis that year.

The Old McDonald County jail is a valuable portion of history and will stand the test of time.