Historic Molino Jail Was Uncovered Friday
February 16, 2008
Escambia County Road Prison inmates were not trying to break out of jail Friday morning. Instead, they were trying to get into jail, taking about three hours to clear about 30 feet of brush from in front of a historic jail in Molino. It is located on Brickyard Road, a short distance northwest of Molino Road.
The jail was built about 1915 and repaired in 1927, said Molino Mid-County Historic Society President Lil King. The faint outline of the 1927 date written in the concrete doorway at the time of the repair is still visible today. The jail was repaired after an explosion took off the door, possibly in an escape attempt, King said.
The small brick building is in remarkably good shape after all these years. The tongue and groove wood ceiling looks virtually undamaged. The roof needs some minor repair; and there is some water damage to wood around the bar-covered windows. The front door is missing.
There is just a single room in the old jail. It contains a single cell in the room, with a small area to walk around three sides of the cell. The door of old cell still swings freely, and does not even squeak. There is no obvious sign that the building was ever heated in winter.
The Town of Molino was established in 1913 and was dissolved after hard financial times during the Great Depression. In 1933, the Florida Legislature abolished the town and distributed the assets of the town to Escambia County.
In the document, known as House Bill 322, the legislature directed the county to keep the fair grounds as a public park and that “the jail and city hall be maintained by the said County of Escambia for the use of peace officers of the said county”. Click the photo to the left to read a copy of the document.
The city hall was believed to be located directly in front of the old jail, but it is no longer standing.
It was after King located this document while researching Molino history in Tallahassee that they historical society was able to get the county to clean up the lot around the jail since it became clear the county owns the property.
Jeff Bohannon, superintendent of the Escambia Road Prison, said he was proud to be able to help clean up the lot for the historical society. And the prisoners on the work crew were equally proud to take part.
“You are contributing to a part of history,” Bohannon told the prisoners as they prepared for a lunch break. “I know you get out and do this kind of cleanup thing everyday, but this is special. When you get out, you can come back where with your kids or grandkids and show them what you helped do.”
“I really appreciate each one of you. What you did today, and what you do everyday,” he said.
Several prisoners responded with a “thank you, sir”.
“We look forward to working with the historical society on this project,” District 5 County Commissioner Kevin White said. White observed the cleanup process on site for most of the morning.
King said this was not the first time the jail had been visited in recent years. About 10 or 15 years ago, she said, area schools brought children to the old jail for a tour.
Pictured above: The single cell inside the old Molino jail. Pictured below: District 5 County Commission Kevin White inside the old Molino jail. NorthEscambia.com exclusive photos. Click to enlarge.