ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — The building that was the Allegan County Jail for about half of the 20th century is open for visitors to explore the history of Allegan.
From 1906 to 1963, the Allegan County Jail was half jail and half residence for the sheriff and his family. When the Allegan County Jail built a new building in 1963, the Allegan County Historical Society began leasing the Old Jail for $1 from the county and turned it into a museum.
On the residence side of the jail, visitors can explore the bedrooms, a pioneer room, a Victorian dining room, and more.
At the back of the building is the jail and the three levels of cell blocks.
“We have one cell block that is pretty much what it was originally as far as the way the cells are and then we have other cells that have been turned into displays,” Mark Lovett, president of the Allegan County Historical Society, said.
The displays include a barber shop, a dentist’s office, a toy display, and more.
“We (also) have the infirmary set up as not really a doctor’s office, but an examination room,” Lovett said.
In the basement, visitors can see a mock-up of a courtroom from the old courthouse, the laundry room that the inmates used, a general store and a room that covers military history.
“…(It) covers all the wars and military service from the time that Allegan became a county,” Lovett said.
It displays some of Gen. Benjamin Pritchard’s personal property. Lovett explained that the Allegan resident, along with his company, captured Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, in Georgia at the end of the Civil War.
The museum is open May through August on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and September through April on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Private tours during off hours are also available for a $20 donation.
“We also have late hours where we charge an hourly fee. That’s usually the paranormal groups that like to come through our museum,” Lovett said, adding that it’s $35 an hour until midnight and $50 an hour after.
For more information on the museum, visit the historical society’s website.