Location: Old Lockhart Jail – Now the Caldwell County Museum
Date: Saturday December 16, 2006
Brief History: The Lockhart jail's current incarnation is the Caldwell County Museum and Visitors Center. The original jail for Caldwell County was a log jail that burned down in 1858. For a brief amount of time after the fire the jail was housed inside the county courthouse basement, until, 1873 when a square stone structure was built out of hand-cut stone. In 1908 it was voted, by the Caldwell residents, that the square jail with a mere four cells was no longer sufficient to handle the increase in nefarious activities from various outlaws. Thus, warranting the construction of the much larger Lockhart jail in 1908.
Reports of paranormal activities take place primarily on the top three floors. In a book called Spirits of the Border, written by Ken & Sharon Hudnall, purport that others have described to them overwhelming feelings of saddness and suffocation while on the upper levels of the Lockhart Jail.
The Lockhart jail was built from local limestone in the Norman Castellated style of architecture, as a point of reference, a famous example of this style is the London Tower. Characteristics of this form of architecture are the fortress like exterior appearance and the predominantly square and rectangular shapes of the corner towers and general schema. According to N. Johnson the architecture of, specifically, prisons reflects how the people felt about the prisoners held inside, "a society's attitude toward crime and its punishment are reflected in the design of the building it uses to detain its prisoners." The jail itself has five levels, including the basement. The ground floor is respectively, both a home for the jailer and where jail administration ran it's day to day activities. There are fifteen cells in the upper floors and the gallows are located in the center of the structure. Although, the gallows were removed sometime in the 1930's; most likely, due to the fact that in 1923 the Texas legislature outlawed death by hanging as a means of execution. I think the gallows were located centrally to serve as a constant reminder of the result of a life of crime; death. A message that some, like Earnest Johnson, got young. Earnest Johnson was executed by means of electrocution at the age of 21 in 1932.