The Human Squirrel Cage Was A Happening Place!

Photo by Joan (Houston) Schneider
Copyright 1985. All rights reserved.

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The work on the Human Squirrel Cage jail book is progressing.

So far I have cataloged, for the Rotary Jail (1882-1985) alone, a structure touted by its designers as being the "safest" and most "escape-proof" design of its time: 
36 successful escapes
16 attempted escapes
1 instance of a mob taking the prisoner from the jail and hanging him
10 instances of an inmate being injured or killed either in or by the jail
1 honeymoon
1 baptism
3 instances of an inmate or inmates trying to tear the jail area apart 
3 fires
1 explosion
1 execution
1 kangaroo court
1 moot court
1 instance of the jail getting hit by lightning and shocking the prisoners inside.

And one instance of a 10-year-old girl who got her fingers twisted into the mixing blades in the kitchen mixer while she was trying to mix a chocolate cake for dessert for supper. I think the responding paramedic kept those mixer blades. Said it was the first time he had a call like that. They cut them off with bolt cutters . . . the blades, not my fingers.

Hey, what can I say? It was a happening place. The numbers will likely change as I keep going forward.

Nodaway Courthouse (left) and 1st Nodaway jail (right).
March 25,1881. Photo taken day of the Talbott brothers sentencing.
Sheriff Toel pictured in front of the jail.
As far as the first jail, I've found three successful escapes, two attempted escapes, and two fires . . . but it was just a regular old rectangular jail.