A century of mountain life and death

The history of the Old Marshall Jail is literally scratched into its walls, where prisoners whiled away time writing little notes. When the building closed in 2012, it had eight cells and 24 beds for prisoners, plus quarters for staff and offices for the sheriff's department. Over its 114 year life, the jail has housed hundreds of people and affected thousands of others in the pursuit of justice.

Incarceration is a complicated social practice, but the dream of a just society drives every person to ask questions about what and who is right, who is wrong, and how society can work toward the ideal. The jail is part of that society, part of those questions, part of the answer. It does not provide an answer about the practice of incarceration -- whether it's right or wrong -- but it captures the history of that idea. It is a touchstone for the stories. It is a monument for the dream of a more just society.

Read its stories on our blog.


The rEsearch begins

Since the purchase of the jail in late summer 2016, we've been working to collect archival materials found in the building. We're seeking stories from the community, and digging into local archives to learn more about the jail and the people who spent time there.

Consider this video a preview of good things to come. The Old Marshall Jail was a central part of community life from 1905 until 2012. As the building transforms from a jail into a commercial space, artist Josh Copus and journalist Emily Patrick are collecting stories of townspeople, law enforcement, prisoners, community -- anyone who has something to say about the jail.