Old Tivoli Jail to be restored
by Tim Delaney
Jan 24, 2014 | 237 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REFUGIO – A construction bid to restore the historic Tivoli Jail was approved by the Refugio County Historical Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The exact date when the jail was built is unknown, but it was in use before 1914. The jail was referred to as the “Old Calaboose,” a small confinement about 12 by 16 feet, mainly for drunks who would sober up overnight and be released the next day.

Shackles inside the jail were for the more violent offenders.

The commission awarded the bid to D. Burgess Roofing and Remodels of Lubbock for roof replacement and the raising of the structure to place a foundation underneath.

The total labor cost was bid at $2,500. The cost of materials was not included in the bid.

Funds for the old jail will include $1,000 from Refugio County.

Commission Chairman Rosemary Kelley plans to address the Refugio City Council for hotel occupancy tax that would pay for materials for the jail project.

Commissioner Bart Wales said the project has nothing to do with the Refugio County Museum. He said it was a Historical Commission project that includes handing the jail over to the Refugio County Historical Society for maintenance once the jail has been restored.

The old jail will be situated near the Refugio County Museum in Heritage Park in Refugio.

In other commission business, a new project was approved and a committee was formed to investigate funding.

The new project is constructing a tower platform for birding and wetlands observation at the old boat launch south of Bayside.

Commissioner Don Foxall, who suggested the idea, said a parking lot is already there for the public, and the boat launch there is unusable.

Commissioner Beverly Fletcher noted that the state and federal parks organizations have grants for such projects.

Victor Garza, executive director of the Refugio County Community Development Foundation, was at the commission’s meeting and volunteered to be on the committee to seek funding for the new project.

Foxall and Commissioner Lori Bellows are also part of the committee.

Wales informed the commission that the Barefield School historical marker was received. Plans are to install the marker at the Educational Center founded by the late Willie Brown during Juneteenth celebrations.

Plans for the Tropical Trail Region March meeting in Refugio were also discussed.

A trip to St. Dennis Chapel will begin the trip. Participants will board a bus at the Refugio County Museum on March 18.

From the chapel, the group will proceed to the Fagan Plantation.

Lunch will be served at the Fred Fagan Ranch.

The event will conclude with a visit to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge. The cost of the trip is being determined.

The next meeting of the commission was set for 11 a.m. on March 11 in the Refugio County Courthouse.

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