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Wanette Jail

Location Class:
Built: ~1908 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK Team

The Wanette Jail can be found tucked away in the trees off 3rd street. Hard to catch a glimpse of during the summer but visible enough in the dead of winter. Not much could be found on this pecualurly built calaboose with reddish native stone held together by aged and chipping mortar. Part of the flat concrete roof and opening to the small jail has collapsed on itself, exposed to the elements. The first instance of this jail showed up on a 1908 fire insurance map with the one prior in 1904 showing no jail in this location, putting its construction sometime between 1905-1908.

Most of these jails, especially in smaller towns were hardly ever used except for the occasional drunk held inside to sober up. As a result of not being used very often they also typically weren’t kept up and running for longer than 1920-1930 although this one was probably vacated sometime before that.

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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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