Mokane Jail Holds Century-Old Secrets

1 decade 7 months 1 week ago February 23, 2006 Feb 23, 2006 Thursday, February 23 2006 Thursday, February 23, 2006 4:10:43 PM CST in News

Mokane is filled with country charm and a rich history, and was well-connected by river and rail. But, one piece of history immediately stands out as you enter Main Street.

"People come to town," said resident Buddy Joe Rogers, "and I see a lot of individuals stop and pull over. And they'll get out and look it all over 'cause they know it's been around a long time. They can tell."

The Mokane Jail is more than 100 years old. Rogers' great-grandfather built it at the end of the 19th century.

"One night, he got, I think, a little over-intoxicated," explained Rogers. "And he was one of the first individuals that was locked up in the jail as such. That's the kind of history you always remember the best, probably, the stories, as such, that go along with it."

If you had too much to drink, you might have wound up behind bars, even after the jail was no longer used as a lockup.

"I've spent some nights in it, but it's not 'cause I got locked up. No, no," said Robert Pritchett. "I was drunk and I didn't want to go home 'cause my mom was still alive, you understand that. My mom didn't much care for that."

Today, the jail is in a different location, after a local group moved it two blocks, piece by piece.

"In 1951, the flood, one of the big floods, it filled with mud," recalled Pritchett. "It was sort of abandoned at that particular time until the Lions Club decided they probably ought to get it over here on Main Street because it was a piece of living history."

The jail is not the only piece of history that's moved over the years. The town itself moved several miles north to avoid constant flooding from the Missouri River. Now, Mokane only has to deal with its flood of memories.

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