Tuolumne County Jail

The Tuolumne County Jail held the badmen from 1857 to 1960. The site upon which the present jail stands was acquired in 1857, after a grand jury determined that the previous jail was a “public nuisance.” Another public nuisance was Tom Horn, a miner from nearby Columbia, who on December 20 of 1865, raised a little too much hell in the local saloons and was locked up for the night. Sometime during the dark hours, he set a fire in his cell that resulted in the destruction of the jail and his cremation. Using material salvaged from the ruins, the present jail was built and completed in 1866. Quarters for the jailer were added at a later date to the front of the building and the jail served Tuolumne County until 1960. The jail is now the home of the Tuolumne County Museum & History Center. Utilizing the front room and several of the original cells to house different exhibits, the museum offers an extremely interesting look into the early days of the Gold Rush. Among the exhibits are early photos, books, letters, mining tools, guns, and an exceptional display of native gold specimens that is the showpiece of the museum. It is located at 158 W. Bradford Ave.

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