See much larger photo HERE

Hose Wagon & Ladder Wagon on Court Street in front of the Kanawha County Jail and county courthouse. Photos of the old jail are extremely rare. It sat on Court & Virginia Street.  The current middle section of the courthouse is on the left.  The house on the right would be on the North West corner of Virginia Street.  The jail in the background is one of only 18 Rotary Jails ever built.  The prisoners were in a circular cage that turned.  There was only one entrance/exit.  The jailer would turn a crank to spin the cage around so that only one person could get in or out.


Court Street Jail

City Jail

This graphic is almost a carbon copy of our old jail.  Notice the top especially.

Only one person was needed to operate the hand crank and rotate the cells, using a mechanism much like the one employed to turn trains around on their tracks. Coal burned in a mechanical space below the cells would provide heat for the incarcerated during winter months. Individual plumbing in the cells was also an unusual luxury at the time, though a necessity given the difficulty of getting people in and out.


The old jail was removed to make way for expansion of the Kanawha County Courthouse.


Chemical Hose Wagon And Steam Engine on Court Street in front of the Kanawha County Jail and county courthouse.

See much larger photo HERE




The man who made the last run with horses was Captain J. H. Hamilton.  It was on May 5, 1923 when the old horses used for many years in the fire department made their last run, and that was an emergency run, all motor vehicles being out when another alarm came in. Captain Hamilton was located then at the central station on Court street.

At 10:30 a. m. an alarm came In from Luna Park,  which was entirely consumed and kept the firemen
fighting flames for several hours.

At 12:35 the Yellow Pine Lumber company plant on Wilson street was: found to be on fire and the only motor vehicle left In the department was sent out. The horses which had been used so long in the department had been replaced by motor vehicles, but had not been removed from their old stalls in the department, and there was still a hose truck which they had drawn that had not been removed from the building.  So when a third alarm came in at 1:22  from the 1500 block of Quarrier Street...  with the motor apparatus all out...  old Morgan and Ben were hitched to the hose truck they had drawn so many times before and their final run to any fire. It proved to be only a minor blaze In some dry grass set on fire by a spark falling from the lumber yard fire. But the horses did their part in putting it out and preventing further danger.

Charleston Fire Dept

Here is a panorama of the Charleston Fire Dept.

( Click on the photo to make it very large )


About these photos....

The above is a sample of how these photos looked when I received them.  100 years can be unkind to any photo that has not been cared for properly.  One photo was torn in several places.  Through the magic (and hard work) of using computer programs,  I managed to salvage these great photos after many hours of tedious restoration.



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