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Burbank Jail

Location Class:
Built: 1910 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedGutted
Photojournalist: Emily Cowan

A calaboose is a tiny jail, like this one there are many scattered in the old towns of Oklahoma. Most built in the early 1900s, they were used to hold inmates for minor crimes such as public intoxication and fighting. But also as holding cells for prisoners awaiting transport to county jails. This one is estimated to be constructed around 1910, it is made of concrete using the pour-in-place method that originated in Texas in 1908.  Located on the backside of a playground, you can walk in and photograph the tiny jail.

Stories including the jail are below:

The Osage Journal and The Osage County News Sept. 18 1925 – George Sheel of Drumright is in receipt of a rather novel present from Bob Donelson who is on a trip out west, in the form of a small bear, which George is “housing” in the Burbank jail.

The Cushing Daily Citizen Oct. 31 1927 – Jose Alvarado, former two gun investigator for Governo Johnston is in jail here today. Alvarado’s bondsman. Rawleigh Samms special deputy sheriff in Osage County, applied for release from the $10,000 appeal bond which was made against Alvarado in the Burbank jail robbery in 1925 for which he is under sentence.

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Emily Cowan

Emily was brought into the Abandoned OK Team in December of 2019. “I’m not gonna lie I fangirled a bit. My first published post I was ecstatic, I felt like I finally had the right audience for my work. The opportunities that came with it made me love the website even more. I remember my first interview with a couple at Waukomis Christian Church. They had bought and restored the 1897 church and insisted on keeping the original sanctuary despite being advised on moving it. We talked with them for at least a good 40 minutes about the church, the abandoned Waukomis Middle School beside it, and the towns other disappearing buildings. They even rang the bell for us that has sat in the bell-tower for the last 120 something years ago. We could tell they were just as passionate about preserving Oklahoma’s dwindling history as we were. When interviewing people and hearing the first-hand stories and recollections of a place and seeing how a person connects to a building, it forms a connection between not only you and that person but yourself and that building.”

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1 year ago

[…] coming years right after. With a surge in residents and oil-workers came crime as well, the local Burbank Jail held some of the misdemeanor criminals and is one of the 3 historic buildings that still stand in […]

1 year ago

A job well done, Minnie. Very interesting.

1 year ago

i love this!!!! thank you for the amazing content!!

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