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Old Dallas Jail History

Posted by Allen Pool 
Old Dallas Jail History
July 12, 2004 09:09AM
When I served on jury duty a few years back. We were looking at the Dallas Skyline from our room. The Baliff who pointed to the old Dallas Jail across from the Red Courthouse. He told us that is where they used to hang prisoners. On the very top floor was a gallows that is still there and that it was used into the late 1920's.
Does anyone know of the about the Old Dallas Jail History?
M C Toyer
Re: Old Dallas Jail History
July 12, 2004 04:22PM
Allen -
I've seen lots of random references to the gallows but I'm not sure where there is a complete account.
Try (Google) searching for "Dallas County Criminal Courts Building" or "Dallas Criminal Courts Building" or variations of those words and phrases.
Also search this message board archive and Jim Wheat's site for "hangings" "jail" etc. I recall several threads and accounts though some may have been before that jail was built.
There are also several mentions and stories of the jail in Jim Gatewood's "Decker," "Benny Binion," and "Captain Will Fritz" books.
I have a "Dallas County Sheriff's Department Commemorative Edition 1846-1982" that states the hangings were conducted "within the walls" from the completion of the building about 1914/15 until 1925 when the state took over all executions using the electric chair. The book further states, "The Death Cells - three of them - though unused, are still in place (1982)"
The prior jail was on the site presently occupied by Union Station and had an outdoor gallows. The book states, "People would gather in a wagon yard - now Ferris Plaza - and in the streets to watch the hangings."
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