“It will be the finest jail and Sheriff’s residence in the state.”
-The Licking County Commissioners, June 1888
Designed by J. W. Yost, a renowned Ohio architect, the Licking County Historic jail first opened for use in November 1889. The building is located at 46 South 3rd Street, Newark, Ohio 43055. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure cost $120,000 to build. It was constructed of pink sandstone known as “brownstone,” which was quarried near Millersburg, Ohio. The front three levels were built to house the families of the sheriff and the jail matron. Sheriff Andrew Crilly was the first to occupy the sheriff’s quarters when the jail opened. The rear portion of the building was used for the incarceration of male and female prisoners on separate floors. The 32 jail cells, each a minimum of 8′ x 8′ in size, had an official total capacity of 68 prisoners. However, well over that number were housed here at times. The jail building was last used for incarcerations in 1987.
July 8, 1910 was a dark day in Newark, Ohio history. Carl Etherington, a detective with the Anti-Saloon League of Ohio, had come to Newark to raid saloons and speakeasies for illegal alcohol. Etherington shot local saloon owner William Howard in self-defense, and was taken to the jail. In retaliation for the agents’ activities, a mob formed. The crowd stormed the north side door of the jail, forcibly removed Etherington, and hanged him from a telephone pole on the southeast corner of the courthouse square. Governor Judson Harmon intervened to restore order. Fifty-eight of the mob participants were indicted: 25 for first degree murder, 10 for assault and battery, 21 for rioting, and 2 for perjury. Etherington’s lynching received national attention because it stemmed from a local uprising against the Temperance Movement.
Because of this, and other historic events that have occurred within the walls of this old Licking County jail, it has become one of the most important and well-known historic jails in Ohio. There has also been much interest in the possibility that this is a haunted jail, occupied by the spirits of those who were once confined within these walls. The haunted jail experience has received much public interest and this haunted Licking County jail was featured on the Travel Channel series, Ghost Adventures on Saturday, July 12, 2014. The haunted jail is also available for public and private tours.
Today, this historic jail is overseen by the Licking County Governmental Preservation Society (LCGPS) which is tasked to restore the old jail and promote its history, as well as its possible uses in the future. Although Initial efforts of the LCGPS will be directed to the Licking County Historic Jail, the LCGPS as a private, not-for-profit organization, is charged with the preservation, restoration and utilization of other historically important Licking County government buildings.
LCGPS 46 South Third St. PO Box 5252 Newark, Ohio 43058 (740) 345-Jail (5245)