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•50 Years Ago - June, 1959•

Deplorable conditions at county jail

The Warren County Board of Supervisors has been put on notice that if it does not take action to replace the present county jail at Lake George, the state commission of correction will institute condemnation proceedings. This would leave the county without a jail and the taxpayers would be put to the expense of paying for the transportation of prisoners to other counties and for their board while incarcerated. Supervisor of Warrensburg and chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, Lee Orton called an emergency session of the board for June 25, 1959 to discuss the matter.

(Note...Warren County was created March 12, 1813 and the first mention I have found of a Caldwell Gaol (Lake George Jail) was written in that year. In 1830, six prisoners were committed on various criminal charges, whereas seven more were committed for debt.

The "new" court house and jail, however, was built starting in 1845 and completed in April, 1846 by contractor Winfield S. Sherwood of Glens Falls at a total cost of $3,600. It came complete with stone chimneys, one fireplace and a 10-foot piazza (porch) across the front with a cupola on top "to be built strong enough to receive a bell." The tiny, cramped cells in the cellar below were not fit to house animals, much less people and many famous prisoners languished there over the years. Today, 50 years after the jail was threatened to be condemned, the beautiful old Lake George Courthouse is the location of the village museum and the Lake George Arts Project. The replacement county jail was built at the county Municipal Center several miles south on Rte. 9 in Queensbury, and five years ago or so, it was replaced by another far larger public safety complex on the same campus. The one built in the early 1960s may be used to house the homeless who apply for temporary assistance through the county.)

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