Archer County’s old jail museum is on the market

Archer County old jail museum up for sale

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - A part of Archer City’s history is now going to the highest bidder, well with a few conditions.

A 110-year-old museum that houses everything from photos, to fossil, to old farming equipment has been closed for years may get a chance at life.

Now that the building is for sale, the commissioner is hoping that the eventual buyer will put the time and money into it and open it back up as a museum.

“I really don’t want it to be for sale. That’s too much history there, and I think we as a community, and our commission should think twice about it,” said Archer residents Pat Garrett and Lois Mayfield.

The jail was built in 1910 with local materials and turned into a museum in 1974. This jailhouse museum is filled with old items that have never even been appraised.

“Our goal is …the county owns this building. We do not want to see it destroyed or changed. However, the upkeep is just going to be very expensive to modernize it,” said County Commissioner Richard Shelly.

The building was painted with lead paint, asbestos was found inside, and there are stairs that are dangerously steep. Although they are looking to sell after about six months, they want to make sure it goes into the right hands.

“The county is not necessarily going to be taking the highest bid. The county is going to look at all the bids to see what the purpose behind the bid is. We want someone that is going to keep it as a historical building and maintain it and, hopefully, make it into more of a tourist draw and allow the people to see the history of Archer County,” said Shelly.

Many members of the community have been discussing the old jail, and suggestions range from very practical ideas like community members going in together to purchase it.

“A lot of people have mentioned Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper, from Waco, Texas since his Mom and Dad were raised here,” said Pat Garrett and Lois Mayfield.

An Open House for the old jail museum is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.

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