The Georgia Trust

2008 PLACES IN PERIL: MERIWETHER COUNTY JAIL

Historic Jail Struggles to escape deterioration

The Story: The 1896 Meriwether County Jail features an unusual modified Italianate villa style with asymmetrical towers and Romanesque arches. Its three-story hanging tower provides a reminder of an earlier form of capital punishment. Located just off the courthouse square, it is one of Greenville’s earliest structures.

The Threat: Like many historic county jails statewide, this jail is not capable of serving its original purpose, suffers from deterioration and needs structural attention. The cell area is particularly threatened, due to a leaking roof, and the foundation and brickwork are cracking. The local community supports saving the building, but funds have not been identified.

The Solution: Greenville is picturesque and well-positioned to develop a heritage tourism program that engages visitors on their way to nearby Warm Springs or Calloway Gardens. As a Better Hometown community, Greenville has applied for grants that would fund streetscaping and other improvements. Communities have successfully used former jails for other purposes. Meriwether County Jail could be used in a variety of ways such as a visitor/welcome center, museum, archives, office space, or a combination of these to ensure its sustainability.

 

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