History buffs in Columbia County now have a place to call home.
Renovations to a 1920s-era jail in Appling have been completed, and the Columbia County Historical Society has begun to have its first meetings there, society member Bill Blackard said.
''We're going to start using that as our home base,'' he said. ''Hopefully, one day we'll be able to have an information center there for the county.''
The improvements to the former jail, which is across the street from the county courthouse in Appling, included new lighting, a new roof, new paint, a refined kitchen, and heat and air conditioning.
It also involved the removal of a back porch and a side office to restore the building to its original look.
''The actual shape of the building is the way it was originally,'' Blackard said. ''And it really looks nice on the inside.''
Blackard said the county paid contractors to do some of the renovation.
''The county gave us a lot of support,'' he said.
The cells on the second floor have remained virtually unchanged. The building housed prisoners until 1984.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The jail is considered a county historical site; it housed inmates until the current detention center on Columbia Road in Appling was built in 1984.
The next step for society members will be to fill the old jail with county history books and other information. Members are looking for donations of filing cabinets and bookshelves to store the historical documents.
''We could use that as a reference for people wanting to learn about the county's history,'' Blackard said. ''That's the dream.''
Eventually, members would like to use the building as an operational site for county history tours.
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