Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 3

Location Information

Date:25th April, 2015     Type:Business

Location Title:Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 3     City/State:Council Bluffs, IA

Investigation Times:08:00 PM - 01:00 AM     Status:Analysis

 

Weather Information

Sunrise:06:29 AM   Sunset:08:14 PM

High Temperature:57 °F   Low Temperature:48 °F

Sky Condition:Overcast   Wind:NE at 12 mph

Humidity:96%   Precipitation:%

Lunar Phase:Waxing Crescent   % disk visible:47%

Solar X-Rays:Active   Geomagnetic Field:Quiet

Pressure:29.66 mmHg  

 

Investigators Present

Christina Anderson

Edward Quentin

Becky Ray

Miranda Stark

Location History

From the Historical Society of Pottawattomie County:
The Jail was built in 1885 and was in continuous use until 1969. It was acquired by the Council Bluffs Park Board in 1971 for preservation, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 by the United States Government. The Historical Society led an effort in 1977 to save the jail, and today owns and operates the facility.
The design and size of the Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail make it a one-of-a-kind structure. It was one of 18 revolving (“squirrel cage”, "human rotary", or "lazy Susan") jails built. It is the only three-story one ever built.
Built at a cost of about $30,000, our unique jail has three floors of revolving pie-shaped cells inside a cage. The front part of the building had offices for the jailer, kitchen, trustee cells, and quarters for women.
The design was the invention of William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh, both of Indianapolis, Indiana. A patent issued to them on July 12, 1881, declared, "The object of our invention is to produce a jail in which prisoners can be controlled without the necessity of personal contact between them and the jailer." It was to provide "maximum security with minimum jailer attention." As one deputy put it, "If a jailer could count... and he had a trusty he could trust... he could control the jail."
The cell section remains much as it did in 1969 when it was closed by the county. The signatures and dates of many of its infamous prisoners remain scratched in the cell walls. It remains a well restored snapshot of an interesting era of our society.
Today, only 3 revolving jails remain: a one-story structure in Gallatin, Missouri; a two-story jail in Crawfordsville, Indiana; and the unique three-story jail here. All three are preserved as museums.
The Squirrel Cage Jail provides students and adults the opportunity to experience first-hand a unique piece of cultural and architectural history and to gain an understanding of this building’s unique place in cultural and national history. Its one-of-a-kind structure is unlikely to be duplicated again.

Investigators Notes

No investigators notes yet

Previous Investigations at this Location

Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 2, 10th November, 2012

Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 1, 1st May, 2010

EVPS
Odd Voice - 25th April, 2015 - Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 3 - Council Bluffs, IA
00:00 / 00:00

This is a clip from the library on the 4th floor. I had basically nothing of interest for 30 minutes and then as we decided to wrap up and move elsewhere, this happened.

Submitted by Edward

Girl's Voice - 25th April, 2015 - Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 3 - Council Bluffs, IA
00:00 / 00:00

This is a clip from a session on the first floor, after midnight of what could be a girl's voice. 

Submitted by Edward

Hard Voice - 25th April, 2015 - Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail - Visit 3 - Council Bluffs, IA
00:00 / 00:00

This is a clip from a session on the first floor, after midnight. It is part of a conversation between Christina and me; I'm talking and at the end of my sentence there's an exclamation that I don't remember saying (and neither does she). Christina also has it on her recording, but it's softer on hers. That's odd because I had placed my recorder several feet away from us, whereas Christina was holding hers.

Submitted by Edward

PHOTOS
No VIDEOS for this Investigation at this time

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