Florence County Jail  



Source: Journal Express
Monday, April 2, 2001 - Page 8
Thanks, Theresa, for sending this in!

The Florence County jail, which was designed by James E. Clancey, an early northwoods architect, may become the focus of an extensive restoration effort.


 A building designed by an Antigo architect may be the focus of an expansive restoration effort in Florence County.
  The Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville has awarded a matching grant to Florence County and the Florence County Historical Society to formulate an architectural plan on the old jail that stands next to the Florence County courthouse.
 The jail was designed by James E. Clancey, who had an office in Antigo in the 1880s. Clancey also designed the first Langlade County lockup, a two-story combined jail and sheriff's residence.
 The Florence County courthouse and jail were placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1985. Since that time, there was an addition to the courthouse and renovation to many of the original offices. The jail was an addition to the courthouse complex in 1889. For over a quarter of a century it served the county in helping to hold law and order in the busy logging and mining era.
 Through the years only a few attempts have been made to maintain the old jail and it is currently in structural danger.
 Officials from the Florence County Historical Society said they hoped that this project will be a catalyst to involve the county citizens, seasonal property owners and any interested historians to become involved with the preservation of the history of Florence County and raising funds to meet the requirements of a Jeffris Family Foundation challenge grant that will possibly be awarded after the structural study has been completed.
  The Jeffris Family Foundation was founded in Janesville in 1979 and is a nationally recognized Midwestern foundation that focuses on Wisconsin preservation. Since 1979 the foundation has been involved in the preservation of many regionally and nationally significant historic buildings and decorative art projects.  Some of its more notable projects have been Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien, Fairlawn Mansion in Superior, Valentine Wolf Home in Germantown and Frank Lloyd Wright's Seth Peterson Cottage on Mirror Lake.
  According to Tom Jeffris, the foundation is currently seeking quality projects throughout Wisconsin. Typically the foundation likes to do projects in smaller communities.
 "The foundation is excited about the Florence County jail restoration project and looks forward to seeing the project evolve from the study stage to the actual restoration," Jeffris said. "We haven't had the opportunity to participate in a project of this type in this area of the state and have found the historic Florence County jail to be worthy of study and restoration. The Florence County Board and Historical Society should be commended for their efforts in seeking out avenues to preserve as well as maintain this unique piece of Midwestern history."
 The architectural plan was started in late January by Art Chadek of Wauwatosa and will be completed by May 2001.

[FOLLOW-UP: I spoke with Debra DeMuri of the Florence Historical Society and the county jail is a true treasure.  It has all of the original fixtures and features and well worth preserving.  They've gotten the official "go-ahead" but could use your help.  I'm including the Historical Society's address here if you would like more information or would like to help out and make this project happen.  They'd appreciate hearing from you!

Florence County Historical Society
c/o Debra DeMuri
P.O. Box 162
Florence, Wisconsin 54121

NOTE: I would love to print more of the local news articles regarding Florence history!  If you have ANY, send them in--I'd love to post them!