Logan County Museum
aka: Old Logan County Jail
The Logan County Museum located in Paris (Logan County) was founded in 1972 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, and displaying memorabilia depicting life in Logan County. The museum collection ranges from documents, diaries, and old store ledgers to ordinary items used in households and on the farms, as well as equipment used by professional people, miners, and other workers throughout the years.
The museum is housed in a building that once served as the Logan County Jail. This building, the third county jail built in Paris, was completed in 1903. The jail was built in two sections. One section consists of four rooms on the ground floor and two rooms in the basement. This area served as the office for the jailer and the living quarters of his family. The second section, containing the cells for holding prisoners, has no connecting entry with the other part of the building. It can only be entered from the outside through a special door. The basic structure of the building remains much the same as it was when the building was constructed. The jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 19, 1993.
The site of this jail has a special significance to the history of criminal justice in Arkansas as well as Logan County. In 1914, Arthur Tillman, who lived in the community of Delaware east of Paris, was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. A gallows was built on the grounds of the jail, and the hanging took place on July 15, 1914. This hanging was the last execution by hanging conducted in Arkansas. After that time, the state moved to conduct executions by means of the electric chair at the Arkansas state prison.
The county jail, which county residents called the “Old Jail,” continued to house prisoners for several years. In 1971, the jail was declared to be no longer adequate for housing prisoners. When the jail was moved to other quarters, a group of Paris residents petitioned the county court to set aside the building for use as a Logan County museum. When this petition was approved by the court, the Logan County Museum Association was organized for the purpose of collecting, preserving, and displaying items pertinent to the heritage of the county. A governing board was given the responsibility of maintaining the museum.
The Logan County Museum has amassed a sizable collection of artifacts pertaining to people, places, and events in the county. One section of the museum depicts an old-fashioned kitchen; another displays items used in one-room county schools. Changing displays of items such as calendars, buttons, and needlework add to the attraction of the museum. Volunteers arrange displays, keep records, and plan special events.
The Logan County Museum schedules many activities during the year promoting patriotism and community involvement. The museum holds a patriotic celebration on the Fourth of July and a commemorative service on Veterans Day. Special displays and activities are held during the Christmas season.
For additional information:
“Logan County Museum.” In Logan County, Arkansas: Its History and Its People. Paris, AR: Logan County Historical Society, 1987.
“Old Logan County Jail.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/LO0085.nr.pdf (accessed September 19, 2022).
Titsworth, Elizabeth. Paris: One Hundred Years. Paris, AR: Paris Chamber of Commerce, 1979.
Patricia L. Curry
Logan County Historical Society
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