The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, http://texasparlor.blogspot.com/ . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader http://youngtexasreader.blogspot.com/ which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Just Visitin' Old Texas Jails - Hall

   Just Visitin' Old Texas Jails.  By Joan Upton Hall.  Abilene:  State House Press, dist. by TAMU Consortium, 2007.  200 pages, 102 b&w photos, 1 map,  glossary, 6x9 paperback,   ISBN  978-1-933337-14-2   $16.95 

http://www.tamu.edu/upress/    http://www.joanuptonhall.com

 

Ed Blackburn, the late, retired, newspaperman, would be enjoying Just Visitin, by Joan Upton Hall, the retired English teacher.  I know I do.  They've both been captivated, if not incarcerated, by our jails.

Her volume is chock-full of about 50 jails across the state which can be visited by tourists especially because they've been converted to modern use by local historical societies, art galleries, jail history fans, bed and breakfast conversions, commercial use, office use, and yes, friends and neighbors, even a residence.  Some figure a one among several structures at the same site.   Arranged alphabetically by town from Albany to Wharton, Hall focuses on about 50 small town calabooses, mostly county sponsored.  One or more photo introduces each entry with a short narrative of colorful stories and technical notes that can continue for up to a fifth page. Many have been tagged by the National Register and Texas state historical markers.

A Texas state outline map carries symbols and makes your plans for visiting easier.  

The oldest jail included is the 1854 Karnes County first jail in Helena.  Hellions in the area included a two-man duel in which the "men, tied together by one arm each, battled with short-bladed knives too short to strike to strike a vital organ, until one or both of them bled to death."  Hall's English teacher background must have included graphic descriptive skills.

Before you escape through the book's back door, you'll find several other categories: "Just Waiting" for the structures not open to the public, "Just Pretending" for Selma's Hooter's Bar & Grill, "Jail Residence" for the Benjamin hoosegow, and "Just Abandoned" for, well, derelicts.  The following short glossary is technical about construction, locking systems and mechanisms such as the "squint box."

Pick up a pass, and squint at the book.  The chapterlettes are alluring.

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Great blog-this journey through these jails is something special.

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like a breaking the chains? is'nt it?? ha, nice. read with big pleasure. thanks