Most People Forgot About This Abandoned Place in Alabama


Alabama has a rich tapestry of history, culture, and enigmatic charm, best exemplified by the Old Rock Jail, also known as the Coosa County Jail. Nestled in Rockford, this massive edifice remains as a witness to bygone ages, enticing tourists with its fascinating history.

Let’s dive into the tale of this unique structure, investigating its history, construction, and the stories that surround it, making it a must-see for those interested in Alabama’s legacy.

Origins of the Jail

The Old Rock Jail, built in 1839, shortly after the formation of Coosa County, was developed out of need, offering a strong answer for detaining the region’s criminals. Crafted from locally quarried stones, some as thick as three feet, the three-story structure held a jailer’s dwelling on the first floor and male and female cells on the top floors. Beneath was a dungeon intended for the most dangerous convicts, complete with iron bars, hefty doors, and constant surveillance from a guard tower.

Read more: Most People Forgot About This Abandoned Place in South Carolina

The Role of the Jail in Alabama History

Throughout its existence, the Old Rock Jail saw significant episodes in Alabama’s history:

  • It housed Coosa County’s first hanging in 1842, which was a tragic milestone.
  • During the Civil War, it functioned as a Union prisoner-of-war camp, with the names of dead soldiers engraved into the walls.
  • During Reconstruction, it became a beacon of hope as the headquarters for the Freedmen’s Bureau, which assisted newly liberated citizens.
  • During Prohibition, it protected captured contraband, capturing the turbulent times.
  • During the Great Depression, it served as a shelter for the homeless, providing a ray of hope in the face of misfortune.

Also read: Most People Forget About This Abandoned Place in Georgia State

Notable personalities including William B. Bankhead, Zora Neale Hurston, and Hank Williams became linked with the jail’s past, adding layers to its rich history.

The Legacy of the Jail Today

Today, the Old Rock Jail is a renowned relic, listed on both the Alabama and National Registers of Historic Places. As a museum, it offers visitors to travel back in time, with authentic cells, objects, and graffiti that preserve the sounds of the past. Guided tours and educational events provide insight into its complex history, while treasured artifacts such as the Old Rock Jail Bell and Key serve as emotional reminders of its legacy.


Alabama’s Old Rock Jail, a historical landmark built in 1839, represents the state’s complex story. Witnessing Coosa County’s growth, it held criminals, watched a sad execution, functioned as a Civil War POW camp, and housed the Freedmen’s Bureau during Reconstruction. With links to important personalities, it serves as a reminder of Alabama’s past. Now a museum, it echoes history via conserved cells, relics, and guided tours, ensuring that its memory lives on.

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