Hays County Historical Commission to begin restoration of the old Hays County jail

Christopher Green | Staff Reporter

SAN MARCOS — The old Hays County Jail, a two-story limestone brick structure that is located on Fredericksburg Street, will soon begin the restoration process.

The restoration is being taken underway by the Hays County Historical Commission. Over the years various ideas have been presented for what the old jail should be used for, including turning it into a thrift store or a law enforcement museum. 

According to the Hays County Historical Commission, the old jail was assessed by structural engineers to determine the stability of the building. 

Ryan Perkins, current chair of the 1884 Historic Hays County Jail Restoration Committee, said the committee is seeking to do an interior restoration of the jail. Through this process, the committee is reaching out to the Heritage Conservation at the Texas A&M School of Architecture. 

“The committee has asked them to consider assisting us or partnering with Hays County Historic Commission with a digital documentation project of the interior of the building,” said Perkins. “And specifically, that would be conducting a 3-D scan of the interior of the jail to document the historic footprint and the details of the building for the permanent record. And for any future reference, so we have it documented.”

Perkins said funding for the restoration has been provided through grants and donations. According to Perkins, the architectural design is also something of importance to the commission because of the Italianate limestone bricks used for the construction.

“The construction of the building is just solid. It’s just really unbelievable how long those materials have lasted,” said Perkins. “I mean, they’re still in quite good condition. They just need to be refurbished and brought into, you know, the preservation of the 21st century.”

After the restoration, the museum could be potentially used as a museum, but Perkins said the main focus is on the current restoration process. 

The jail was designed by Edward Northcraft who also designed the Old Main building at Texas State University. The jail was completed in 1845 and used for a number of years, and later used by the Southside Community Center before they relocated to Guadalupe Street.

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