Trumbull County Jail History

When Trumbull County was first organized in 1800, John Kinsman, Turhand Kirtland, and Calvin Austin were appointed to find a proper place for a "temporary jail". On August 27, 1800, the committee reported that the room in the southwest corner of the home of Ephriam Quinby (at Main and South Street) was acceptable. The court of Quarter Sessions approved the choice.

In March 1801, a plan for a jail structure was adopted. It called for a building 30 by 22 feet wide with two rooms - one for criminals and one for debtors. The oak log walls were to be 15 inches thick with a hewn oak floor, timbers of the same thickness, and a roof of long oak shingles. Simon Perkins was appointed to supervise the building of this jail, which was destroyed by fire in 1804. A log and frame hotel on Market Street opposite the public square then provided a first floor room as a temporary jail.

A new jail was to be built north of the courthouse on High Street. On November 23, 1815, County Commissioners Lyman Potter of Bristol, William Bushnell of Hartford, and John H. Patch of Canfield purchased for $110 part of Lot 42 in the "Warren Town Plat".

On June 4, 1822, the County Commissioners, Martin Smith of Vernon, Benajah Austin of Warren, and William Ripley of Ellsworth hired Seth Thompson of Hartford to build a new brick jail building on High Street for $2,965.00 to be set on the center of the lot east and west, and the front of the building to be 100 feet north of the highway, or "Common". In 1823, Benajah Austin was appointed to supervise the construction of the new building. According to commissioners' records, the cells, the outside door to the prison space, the cellar door and stairs, and a room in the front were to be finished first. This way, if necessary, a family could move in to occupy the prison as a place of confinement before the other part of the building was finished. On December 8, 1824, the jail was completed. Changes in the course of construction had added an additional $381.17 to the cost of the jail.

The jail was 17 by 28 feet. It had a guard's room, a kitchen, and a dining room. Adjoining was a double row of four cells, each 7 by 9 feet in size. Each cell was furnished with an iron frame cot, a wash basin, and toilet facility. Extensive use of iron and steel in the jail's construction made it "saw and file proof". Levers at the corridor entrance controlled the opening and locking of the cells without approaching the entrance.

The second floor apartments were arranged the same, with the exception of a female prison, which was 12 by 17 feet in size, and a hospital room of equal dimensions. Water tanks were built into the third floor space. The building throughout was supplied with hot and cold water, bathtubs, gas, etc., "everything requisite... to the comfort or convenience of the inmates", according to the Western Reserve Chronicle of September 8, 1872.

This county jail at 150 High Street was used until the completion and occupancy of the COunty Administration Building Complex of the 1960's.

East of the jail lot was the former Central Christian Church. In 1820, Ephriam Quinby deeded this lot to the First Baptist Church of Warren. The building was demolished by the county to create a parking lot, which was used until work began on the construction of the Trumbull County Adult Justice Center.

Click here for more information on the Adult Justice Center.

- Research provided by Wendell F. Lauth