Manitou Jail

Location Class:
Year Built: 1922 | Year Abandoned: 1933
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places (December 14, 2016)
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Robin Snow

The Manitou Jail was constructed in 1922 of concrete, and steel bars, with a barrel roof. It was a single cell and represented the efforts that most small upcoming towns had of promoting the welfare and lawfulness of a society. Allegedly a local work crew for the town was hired to do the construction.

One inmate that stayed in the Manitou jail was Frank Ford, the first man to die on Oklahoma’s legal hanging rope. The town’s citizens were relatively lawful and upstanding, they only had use for the jail until 1933 when the last prisoner was held there. It became easier for them to be transported to the county jail in Fredrick, Ok instead. In 1949, Jailor W.G. Hartwig said that Manitou was one of the most law-abiding towns in the state. Continuing to say that the jail hadn’t housed a prisoner since 1933 and that the city should sell the jail to a town that actually needed one.

Although the jail sits abandoned and unused it has become a popular spot for families to visit a great piece of history. It was even added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 14, 2016.

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