Allegan, Michigan: Allegan County Old Jail Museum

Not only an old jail museum, but an old jail as well. Andy Warhol filmed a movie in one of the cells.
Address:
113 N. Walnut St., Allegan, MI
Directions:
Directly across from present jail. Take Hubbard into town, first left.
Hours:
F-Sa 10 am - 4 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
269-673-8292
Admission:
Donation.
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Visitor Tips and News About Allegan County Old Jail Museum

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Old Jail Museum

The "Old Jail Museum" actually is located in the Old Jail. The new jail is across the street, built in the 1960s, and still used today. The old jail was separated -- half as the house of the warden and his family, and half as the prison. The wife of the warden would cook for all the prisoners. The residential side is set up to show life in the 1900s, including architecture and decorations. On the correctional side, they have displays to show a 1900 barbershop, attorney's office, dentist's office, and school room. They have a couple of the cells in the old jail still up for display, including pictures of the prisoners the day they were changed over from the old jail to the new jail. The prisoners are raising their arms, and celebrating, due to the fact that the conditions were considered so horrendous and outdated for their time.

I assume that the tip about the movie star refers to him being arrested and sentenced to serve time in the new jail, and he was transported every day across the street to the old jail to shoot. Which would explain why the movie was shot at the "old jail."

There are also many stories of the place being haunted. Ask your guide, they all have their own stories. I believe they even used to host a haunted tour during Halloween in the past.

[A.J., 05/30/2011]
Allegan County Old Jail Museum

This place is supposedly haunted!

[Johnny Q, 04/02/2010]
Allegan County Old Jail Museum

This is the original jail in Allegan (although I've read there was one previous, maybe a log-type building) that now hosts a wide variety of museum artifacts. The neat thing about it is the story of how it came that footage in Andy Warhol's film Ciao Manhattan was shot there.

"Paul America," the star, took off from New York while they were filming. He ended up here, I am told, at a farm in New Richmond, belonging to a brother or friend. He got busted at a party along with others and ended up spending a couple weeks in the Allegan County Jail. The makers of this film caught up with him and wanted to finish shooting the movie while he was in jail because that was written in the ending. Because of the jail policies, they were not allowed to shoot the film in the present jail, so he was escorted each day across the street to the "Old Jail". If you visit there, you can see the cell that was used and is signed by the cast and people associated with the film. Edie Sedgwick was in this film as well, but not sure if she made it to Allegan. I believe she died during the filming. Besides that, the museum has many oddities to check out, and very friendly people to assist you.

Our town also was the place of residence to General Pritchard, who was in charge of the group that caught Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. His house still stands, occupied by a distant relative. There are many historic relics in our small town.

[Elizabeth Engelsman, 04/12/2007]

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