Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jail House Under Construction

Though not many western towns actually had a real jail house, my boom town does due to the number of shoot outs and wild miners riding and walking into town. Actually most gold towns in California had a large flat strap bar cages they used, that just sat out in the weather. I'll have to remember to get a few pics the next time I swing up to Coloma, about 90 minutes from my abode.

Back to business, rough stone cut building with
wooden door and 2 windows in the front only. The porch overhang is 1 of 4 different types that I have made up for various buildings down the road. Shingles are coffee stir sticks, you can buy a box of 500 for around 5$ or so from a restaurant supply store, Smart & Final has several types to choose from. Shingles are attached via pva to a thin card stock or any material you find convenient. Dirt is not colored yet. Door way is large enough for figures to move through, 30mm high. The door and the window are both framed with Balsa wood strips.

First interior shot. 3 jail cells to house all the ruffians and varmints. Top and bottom support beams of the bars are clamped together and drilled at the same time. This makes sure the bars, when slide in, will align correctly and be upright. Alas, there are no actual doors, perhaps on the mark II version. The flooring is those ever present coffee stir sticks, contact cement and aligned on card stock. For drying purposes, I put wax paper over it, and a heavy weight for a couple of hours till dry. The Walls were shaped and glued down to the flooring. The card stock extends to the front under the Overhang and off to the side for an small corral.

Next we see Debs handy work while I was off to a store one day... But the shot also gives another view of the Bars. I have a roll top desk, pot bellied stove, couple of chairs and a table that round out the furniture. I did have a gun rack but so many shoot outs turned into storm the jail for rifles that the sheriff got rid of it! The dirty brown of the floor probably derives from all the mayhem that has taken place in this building, including the clean up after a stick of dynamite went in through a window one night. Oh the inhumanity of the actions of miners who thought they were done wrong by the law!
Outside shot next. The corral for the posse's horses, the sheriffs nag.. er sleek steed, fast holding area for rioters or drunks for the Saturday night activities. Some town sheriffs simply tied the drunks to tree trunks and left till morning... The gate is simply leaning in place so it can be opened to let out horses. Makes it clear whether or not a crime is being committed, "don't know how the horse got out sheriff" while holding the gate open gets him a tour of the inside of the jail. Ground is not tinted the reddish brown of most of the gold country dirt but close to the other shade that it varies to.

Here are a couple of different views of some of the porch overhangs from the infamous coffee stir sticks. Hmm have to figure better camera angle shots on them. So much to do... When it comes to what was used for roofing, I have seen a picture of a roof made from old doors, weighed down with broken wagon wheels. All it had to do was deflect most of the rain and hold the snow out! Canvas wall buildings were OK in the spring summer and fall, but winter in the sierra foothills can get a lot of snow dumped on to your abode and snow is HEAVY. Makes me think of the time we had a friend over from Australia and thought that snow was "cool stuff" because he had seen frost on the ground over there, till we took him up to the snow. He prepared with a wind breaker, no hat, no gloves "bah, can't be that cold, I've seen it in pictures". 5 minutes in the snow "Crikey! I can't feel my fingers!" Out came the spare gloves and hat.. lol.

Here are the other 2 porch awnings I have assembled, flat full length planks and the left over short planks overlapped. Even trimmed edges would take the builders time away from panning for gold!

And there you have it.

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