Ideas float around about what to do with historic Alex City Jail

Ideas float around about what to do with historic Alex City Jail
Historic Alex City jail to close (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Hank Williams spent at least one night in the city jail in Alex City. (Source: Alex City Jail)
Hank Williams spent at least one night in the city jail in Alex City. (Source: Alex City Jail)
Williams eventually paid a $25 fine. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Williams eventually paid a $25 fine. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - Hanging on the wall in the police chief's office is a 66-year-old mugshot of Hank Williams. Arrested in August of 1952, Williams faced charges of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness in a hotel that used to sit where the Piggly Wiggly is now in Alex City.

Deputy Chief James Easterwood can only imagine how he would have felt if he was the arresting officer.

"Wow.. a famous person who broke the law," said Easterwood.

Hank Williams' mugshot, by the way, was taken on a particular spot inside the jailhouse. The paperwork doesn't indicate how long he stayed, but long enough apparently for him to have carved his own name in the wall and next to it, a simple drawing of himself complete with his Stetson cowboy hat.

"Of course, all the carvings on the wall were before my time," said Easterwood.

Hank Williams' connection to the jail will always be around, but not the jail itself, as it has been closed for good after city leaders struck a deal with their counterparts in Tallapoosa County. City inmates will be locked up in the county jail; $10 a day per inmate, a $50 book-in fee per inmate and all medical costs will be paid for by Alex City.

By closing the jail, which was built in 1939, the police department will save about $40,000 a year from having to feed inmates. Alex City leaders had been studying the idea of closing it for about two years.

Renovating the jail was out of the question because of its historical significance along with the public safety building.

"It's best for the city and the police department," Easterwood said.

There is talk among the locals of turning the slammer into a tourist attraction, using an old black and white photo as its calling card,  the one on the wall in the chief's office.

Alex City police averaged around three inmates per day over the years. They officially closed the jail on March 1.

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