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Cottonwood Grove Jail

Cottonwood Grove Jail

Location Class:
Built: 1905 | Abandoned: N/A
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Status: Restored
Photojournalist: Michael SchwarzEmily Cowan

As we continue working with Bill Moore on the Tiny Jail and Calaboose series, we took a trip down to Verden, Oklahoma to see the 1905 Calaboose.  On the inside you can see the shared bathroom, metal doors and locks and one cell still contains a flat metal bed. The lawn is well taken care of and the exterior has been repainted a number of times over the last decade. It’s not very often that these old jails are tended to but it is clear that the town of Verden has respected and maintained this interesting part of their history.

The town was originally named Cottonwood Grove named for a large stand of Cottonwood trees in the area. The name Verden replaced Cottonwood Grove shortly after the town was founded because there was already a settlement named Cottonwood Grove in existence. The town was platted in 1904, and the jail was erected the next year. This building has two cells. As you enter the barred front door, to the right is a heating unit, to the left is a rudimentary lavatory that contains a sink and a toilet. At the back of the building are two cells. The façade has two small barred windows on each side. It also has a stepped parapet above the flat concrete roof that overhangs the walls.

It is unclear when the jail was replaced, but it is a really neat place to visit. It still sits proud at the end of Main street and will be there for foreseeable future.

Read more about how this town’s history: https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=VE003

This calaboose is open to the public 24 hours a day at no cost. Please be respectful by taking nothing but pictures and leaving nothing but footprints. Enjoy!





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Emily Cowan

Emily is a two-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" and "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World". With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

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