BRUNSVILLE, Iowa — Residents of a tiny northwest Iowa city are celebrating a long-abandoned jail with a plaque and presentations about the 1911 structure that features two cells, iron bars and plenty of history.

Local historian Susan Willer and the Four Seasons Club were unveiling a plaque Saturday detailing the history of the Brunsville jail, which has been open and unused for years, the Sioux City Journal ( ) reported.

Willer said two men built the prison more than a century ago and quickly became its first prisoners. She declined the newspaper’s request to name the men because they still have relatives in the town of less than 150 people.

The 12-foot-by-15-foot structure no longer contains locks on the cells or a pot-belly stove that once connected to the chimney.

“From what I’ve learned, two men built the jail and got paid for doing so,” Willer said. “They took their money that night and went to the local tavern and became a bit too rowdy.”

Willer said the men escaped, returned to the tavern and raised more commotion. Authorities were summoned and subsequently locked them up again.

“And, again, they broke out of jail and returned to the tavern,” Willer said.

Willer said the idea to hold the program came to her after she walked by the jail one day several months ago.

“I walked past a father who had brought his sons to town to show them the old jail,” she said. “I realized it’s a piece of Brunsville history that we should share by telling the story. It might bring people to town.”

Information from: Sioux City Journal,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.