Council Bluffs, Iowa: Squirrel Cage JailThe Largest Revolving Jail in the U.S., although it no longer revolves. Three stories high, built in 1885. Built for people, not squirrels.
- 226 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, IA
- From Hwy 192/S. 6th St. turn east onto 5th Ave., then first left (north) onto Pearl St., then first left into parking lot. You'll see the red brick jail next to the parking lot.
- Tu-Sa 10-4, Su 1-4. Closed M, major holidays, all of January. (Call to verify)
- Adults $7, plus parking
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About Squirrel Cage Jail
Squirrel Cage Jail
The city of Council Bluffs has an attraction called the Squirrel Cage Jail. It is an old jail which was built with its cells or cages atop a giant "Lazy Susan." The idea was that the jailer could keep an eye on his prisoners at all times, by having them in constant rotation. Also, it seems titillating to know that Council Bluffs also bills itself as "The Black Squirrel Capital", and one can frequently see the cute little critters roaming around in the green spaces of the city.[Don Fraysier, 09/11/1998]
It's the Largest Revolving Jail in the US -- even though it no longer revolves. Three stories high, built in 1885. There are only two others, in Crawfordsville, IN, and Gallatin, MO. The Crawfordsville jail still revolves. This unique penal facility design was abandoned due to various mishaps -- sometimes the jails rusted or jammed, allowing prisoners to escape down the central core.