Jefferson County Jail (4th Avenue)

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Illustration of the Hawes riot with armed guards on the roof of the jail at center
View of the jail from the south, c. 1930

The Jefferson County Jail on 4th Avenue North at 21st Street North was a small complex of prison buildings behind a tall brick wall north of the 1875 Jefferson County Courthouse and its successor, the 1889 courthouse. The complex was the first county jail built after the seat of Jefferson County was moved to Birmingham. It was demolished in 1931 after completion of the present Jefferson County Courthouse at Linn Park.

Notably the Jefferson County Jail was the backdrop for the Hawes riot in December 1888 during which guards and deputies, under the command of Sheriff Joseph S. Smith fired rifles and shotguns into a crowd of thousands, killing ten.

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