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Beebe Jail

Beebe Jail

Location Class:
Built: 1934 | Abandoned: N/A
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places (September 13, 1991)
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Gage Fears

The Beebe Jail is a double cell, concrete structure built in 1934 for the City of Beebe. This was not Beebe’s first jail though, a previous jail built had numerous attempts to blow it up using dynamite, seems destroying the jail must have been successful. Beebe ended up going eight years without a calaboose until on July 3, 1934, the city announced a new jail would be erected. The project was funded through the Civil Works Administration, which was only around for a short period of time, and completed a short month later. Shockingly the small structure held two cells behind its steel door both with their own small barred window.

The first person to be lodged in the jail in August of that year was Norris Burson from nearby Garner. Burson was arrested on charges of forgery, a crime a bit more serious than the typical drunkenness or fighting that got most other inmates locked up.

While the exact date the jail was abandoned is unknown, most of these jails became abandoned in the 1950s or 1960s. Fortunately this jail was saved from being forgotten just before the twentieth century. Strives were taken to preserve its history and the jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1991.

Gallery Below


“Alleged Forger First Prisoner in New Beebe Jail.” Arkansas Gazette, August 1, 1934, p. 12.

“Beebe Jail.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/WH1368.nr.pdf

“Beebe to Maintain Jail after Eight Years.” Arkansas Gazette, July 3, 1934, p. 7.

Federal Works Agency Public Works Administration. “List of all Allotted Non-Federal Projects, All Programs, By State and Docket, as of May 30, 1942.” On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Hope, Holly. An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006.

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