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Austin County Museum (Austin County Jail)

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Austin County Jail
1896, F. B. and W. S. Hull, builders. 36 S. Bell St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )

A catalogue-order building from the Pauly Jail Building Company of St. Louis, the jail is a dramatic example of Romanesque Revival architecture in this small town. Three stories in height, the building follows a cruciform plan with a fourth-floor tower projecting from the axial intersection. The rusticated limestone base supports dark red brick walls accented with contrasting limestone, culminating in crenellations and turrets. All the materials (brick and cut stone), along with windows, jail bars, and equipment, were ordered as a kit and shipped on the railroad for assembly by local contractors. The sheriff's family lived on the first floor; jail cells occupied the second and third levels. The hanging tower was used for only one execution before the jail closed in 1980 and was turned into a museum. The building was rehabilitated by Bailey Architects in 2004.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Austin County Museum (Austin County Jail)", [Bellville, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 93-94.

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