The historic St. Francois County Jail and Sheriff’s Residence located in the Courthouse Square Historic District is all decked out for the holidays thanks to the work of the Farmington Garden Council.
The council consists of two members of each of the city’s garden clubs — the Nancy Weber Garden Club, Evening Primrose Garden Club, 25 Gardeners Garden Club and the Flora Garden Club.
According to Farmington Garden Council member Debbie Eck, Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers contacted their president and the group met together to discuss the project.
“A lady who wished to remain anonymous donated a Christmas village collection to the city,” she said. “He asked if we would be willing to put it together and we jumped at the chance! We started a little later than we had planned on because the city has done a fabulous job of remodeling the jail and they’re going to continue remodeling it.
Basically, Judy Sheets, Kay Dussin and I put it together. We also had wonderful help from the city employees. They built the stand and pedestals for the poinsettia tree that’s made up of 50 live poinsettias. They just took good care of us and helped us with anything we needed. It didn’t take too long for us to do it. We worked very hard for a day-and-a-half. Kay and I kept tweaking it over and decorated the lobby over the next week.”
Eck added that every night the jail is open, two representatives from each garden club serve as hostesses for the evening.
Here’s a little history about the historic jail and sheriff’s residence.
The two-story, three bay, Greek Revival-style brick and limestone building was built in 1870-1871 and enlarged slightly around 1909. It has a front gable roof and centered arched front doorway. By 1996, it was one of the oldest operating jails in Missouri, but it was retired in September of that year when the jail moved to its current facility.
The building now serves as a low-cost inn for people traveling along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or email@example.com