was a quiet East Texas
town until the oil boom of the early 1930s. The prospects for work
it created brought hundreds of people to the area and many lived in
virtual tent cities and stayed as long as there were jobs. Along with
the influx of workers was an increase in crime. It is not known if
there was a direct correlation between the changes brought about by
the hoards of transients and the construction of the new calaboose.
In any case, the city fathers authorized the construction of a new
jail and it was erected near the corner of Main and North Longview
streets in city block 22 sometime after 1931. The only Sanborn fire
insurance map available for Arp is dated 1939 the calaboose is depicted
on Sheet at the location mentioned above.
Photo courtesy Bill Moore
| The new calaboose
was made of concrete using the poured in place method, a common type
of construction at the time. The floor plan is a rectangular structure
that measures 8 feet across the front and back and 16 feet on the
sides (128 square feet) that rests on a concrete slab 13 inches thick.
The door is in the center of the calaboose and it opens to a small
room or vestibule that is flanked on each side by a single cell that
is 57 square feet in size. The current door is a replica that the
owner (Paul Arnold) paid to have fabricated. It is 38 inches by 78
inches in size. The original door was wood with no window or opening
of any kind.
The primary source of direct light and ventilation to the cells is
a small window on each side of the calaboose (15? x 20?). These windows
have metal bars placed vertically within a wooden frame. Each cell
had a small closet-like area that housed a toilet. On the wall facing
the door there was a small window (12" x 12") that provided light
into the bathrooms. Electricity was provided for the common room or
entry area but not for the cells. The only light fixture is in the
common room or vestibule.
In the early 1960s, the decision was made to demolish the Arp State
Bank and build a new one on a different site. Before the new bank
could be constructed the old calaboose had to be demolished or removed.
The first option would create an enormous pile of rubble and that
was considered undesirable. Hugh Anderson was the Chairman of the
Board of Arp State Bank and he came up with the idea of moving it
to a different location. He was convinced that the large oil trucks
could handle the job. Paul Arnold's father, Loys Arnold, told Anderson
that if they could get it onto the trucks it could be put on his son's
farm approximately 1.5 miles from town. They were successful and it
rests today on a pasture owned by Paul Arnold.
@ Bill Moore November
11, 2015 guest column
"I have been documenting calabooses for over two years and this
is one of the more interesting ones because of how it was rescued
from demolition. [Visit] my calaboose website - www.tinytexasjails.com."
- Bill Moore, September 01, 2015
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