Licking County Jail

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A photo of the former Licking County Jail.
Licking County Jail near the turn of the twentieth century.

The old jail on South 3rd Street is believed to be the fourth jail in Newark. It was built in 1889 [1] after the previous one was condemned in 1887. [2] Several inmates died while in jail, including Sam Bucklew in 1907, Louis Trunnel in 1916, Albert Miller in 1932, Walter B. Robertson in 1935, Charles Hill in 1949 and James H. Shaner in 1955. Robertson died by hanging, and the others were all from intoxication. Three Licking County Sheriffs died of heart attacks while in residence at the jail: Ross Embrey in 1934, Albert Roe Francis in 1949 and William McElroy in 1962. [3] But the most well-known occurrence at the jail was the lynching of the 17-year-old liquor agent Carl Etherington on July 8, 1910. [4]

The Federal government and the State of Ohio issued a set of standards for jails in 1978, and this jail failed every one. [5] Therefore, in May 1978 Sheriff Max Marston recommended to County Commissioners that the jail be closed. [6] Instead, Judge Neil M. Laughlin issued a court order to Sheriff Marston and the Commissioners requiring them to improve jail conditions and comply with the standards. [7] Commissioners considered selling the jail because of the prohibitive costs of repair and maintenance. [8] One temporary solution was to send inmates to facilities in other counties and pay for their room and board. [9]

The last use of the jail for incarceration was in 1987. [10] After that it was used as office space for the Veterans Administration, Licking County Litter Prevention and County records storage. [11]

By 2010 County Commissioners were proposing to convert the jail into a tourist attraction. [12] They invited several paranormal investigation groups to spend the night, and they all came out with evidence of haunting. [13]

The Licking County Government Preservation Society was formed in 2013 with its first goal to preserve the jail and restore the administrative and living quarters to their original condition by fund raising and building community involvement and interest. [14]



  1. "Licking County envisions tours in historic jail," by Wesley Lowery in Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 15, 2010
  2. "Can jailhouse rock?" by Amy Hollon in Newark Advocate, Sept. 15, 2010
  3. "Deaths at historic Licking County Jail," no author, n.d.
  4. "A Step Too Far; Newark's Day of Infamy," by E. Chris Evans, n.d.
  5. "Jail fails standards test," by Jim Underwood in Newark Advocate, Jan. 31, 1979.
  6. "Marston recommends closing of county jail," by Ray McCall in Newark Advocate, May 17, 1978.
  7. "County jail court orders reviewed by commissioners," by Larry Fugate in Newark Advocate, Sept. 16, 1978.
  8. "Fate of old jail remains undecided," by Larry Fugate in Newark Advocate, May 31, 1979.
  9. "Guidance sought on jail crowding," by Pat Bringardner in Newark Advocate, Dec. 16, 1981.
  10. "Licking County envisions tours in historic jail," by Wesley Lowery in Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 15, 2010.
  11. "Scenes from Yesteryear," in Newark Advocate, May 4, 1997.
  12. "Licking County envisions tours in historic jail," by Wesley Lowery in Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 15, 2010.
  13. "Paranormal group investigates old county jail," by Anna Sudar in Newark Advocate, Feb. 9, 2011.
  14. Licking County Governmental Preservation Society (internet site) at