Built in 1910, the Tioga County Jail quickly drew criticism from locals. Many believed the prison was too attractive and cozy to be an effective deterrent to crime. A newspaper column from the time claimed that people would deliberately commit crimes in order to live in comfort in the new jail.
Located on Court Street in Owego, the old county jail housed prisoners for over eighty years, until 1997 when it was purchased by a local developer and renovated. Four years later the repurposed building opened as a restaurant and bar. Now known as the Calaboose Grille, many features of the original jail have been incorporated into the design, including some of the original jail cells and iron bars. There is even an example of cell graffiti preserved on one of the walls.
Fortunately, it is no longer necessary to commit a crime to experience the attractive and comfortable surroundings of this historic landmark. Today, its doors are open to all, on New York’s Path Through History.
Photos Courtesy of:
Tioga County Historical Society