PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The historical 1891 Old Panola County Jail held a dedication ceremony Saturday afternoon to unveil a new state antiquities landmark medallion that was made possible by the Texas Historical Commission.
As the curtain drops, organizers unveil the landmark medallion to the historic 1891 jail in Carthage. This comes 39 years after the founder of the Panola County Historical Genealogical Association, Leila LaGrone, applied for the antiquities landmark in 1981. The current president, Becky Austin, explained the significance of this medallion.
“It was a total surprise to all of us today when we were notified by the state that they had decided to award that. As far as Panola County is concerned, there is only one other marker that would possibly be in this county and that is the international boundary marker.”
The building was the first permanent jail for Panola County, and was in operation from 1892 until 1953.
“The medallion basically is offering protection for the old jail," Kay Mauritzen, Chairwoman of the Panola County Historical Commission said. "It is put on buildings that are old and that need to be protected because they are historical.
The building currently possesses a Texas Historical Landmark that was issued back in 1966.
In 1987, the Panola County Historical and Genealogical Association organized and adopted the old jail to be a local history and genealogical library and museum.
The Texas Historical Commission made the designation. To qualify, the building had to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to a press release for Saturday’s event.
“The designation will provide more protection for the building under the Antiquities Code of Texas, according to the Panola County Historical Commission.”
According to the historical marker, the Old Panola County Jail was designed in 1891, and it served as the county jail for 62 years. Later, it served as the city jail from 1953 to 1965.
A restoration project that was started in 1988 converted the old jail to a community museum and historical center, the historical marker’s text stated.
The old jail is located at 213 N. Shelby Street in Carthage.