Historic Burlington Jail project moving forward

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

BURLINGTON - An old friend is looking a bit spiffier these days.

Late last year, contractors put a new roof of the old historic jail at Burlington. Historic Jail Preservation Corporation members hope to continue restoration of the county's old jail this year by installing flooring as well as doors and windows.

"As soon as it dries up, we can get back in there," corporation

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member Dave Milem said. "The architect right now is working on a list of things we need to do. It's starting to look really encouraging. For the longest time there was so much to be done but little by little, we got the ground raised and cleared, got some fill dirt. Little by little, things are coming together."

It is a far cry from three years ago when the county purchased the old stone structure. At that time, the roof had fallen in and the property was overgrown with weeds.

But those with a vision of preserving it for future generations and providing space for an Underground Railroad museum saw a bright future in this part of the county's past.

"Someone asked me once when we thought we'd have thins done. I'd like to think we could have it finished in a few years but it depends on funds. We're now in a position to get some grants," Milem said.

"There are some grants out there that match up nicely with what we're doing."

The jail corporation has had two fund-raisers recently to pay for jail restoration.

The book, "Medical Professionals, A History of Those Who Have Practiced in Lawrence County, Ohio" and a game, "True Trivia of Lawrence County" are both on sale now.

" They've both done very well- better than I expected," committee member Virginia Bryant said. "We do have copies of the book and trivia games and they are on sale at the library."

Bryant said the jail is a key component of what could become a tourist attraction for the Burlington area. "I think once the jail is completed, Burlington will become a destination. There is a lot to see. We have the 37 Cemetery and the Macedonia Church and some other things. I am hopeful."

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of Lawrence County and finds a story where it hits.