From Eyes, Once Gazed

Damn, I must be obsessed. I just completed another series from our Boonville, MO trip tonight. Okay, yes, I’m definitely a bit obsessed right now. But to think about the history of these places, especially the series I have for you tonight. It brings chills to my skin. At this time I would like to note, this is solely a Black and White endeavor. So for any anti-monotoners out there, please be advised… you have been warned. 😉

Cooper County Jail 

Closed in 1978… but today, stands as is a beautiful (to my decay seeking eye), yet tragic reminder of our ability for absolutely inhumane tactics with our own kind. This stood as the oldest consistently used jail in Missouri until its close. The rocks that built it, were quarried by slaves and interior rooms housed slaves that were later sold at auction. Housing the likes of Frank James, who believe it or not was Jesse James brother. It had  pretty extensive rap-sheet.

This jail, or rather the adjoining hanging barn, was used for one of the last hangings in Missouri. Hows that, for “eerie as hell”?

Anyway, with the amazingly appreciated help of an “insider” and some frantic last minute attempts to push a little more juice into my dying batteries, I had the opportunity to poke around inside with my lens and tripod. Ohhhhhh, what a wonderful time was had. Here I must admit, the lighting in this dungeon of a jail house, was anything but overly helpful. I attempted some inner cell room frames, but was left wanting. The corridor and angled pieces worked out flawlessly to my liking though.

Apparently in association with the inhumane style of living quarters, heat is a lost art here. Or rather, non-existent, aside from some space heaters placed inside by those working to preserve this historical monument to Missouri’s past. Being quite smitten with warm weather and an enemy to the cold, this seemed like hell on earth to me. But, then again, what jail is all roses?

Walking in and around these cells gave a chill that cannot be described. The pain and sorrow emanates throughout every scratched message and paint chip. In some images below, you can actually read the names of past inmates in addition to some recording the year incarcerated. For this, I recommend the link at the bottom of the post to see these images in a larger format.

The trip wasn’t without my own heartbreak. Far sooner than I had wished, my earlier fear came true. “Recharge Battery”. AHHH!

Oh well, thankfully I captured most of the images I sought. Enjoy…


Huge thanks the my “insider”