The Russell Jail, located off Elm Street in Russell (White County), is a one-story, reinforced concrete structure built around 1935 with apparent assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. The Russell Jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 23, 1992.
The small railroad and farming community of Russell was apparently in need of a jail during the Great Depression and turned to the WPA, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies, for funding around 1935, though no record of the project exists in WPA project files at the Arkansas State Archives.
The Russell Jail is one-room building constructed of steel rod–reinforced cast concrete, including a concrete roof and foundation. Its original steel door was removed at some point, and the building is covered with vegetation, but it still stands in the twenty-first century, one of three New Deal jails in White County (the others are at Beebe and McRae).
For additional information:
Hope, Holly. An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed February 24, 2021).
“Russell Jail.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/WH0497.nr.pdf (accessed February 24, 2021).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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