Kyle Calaboose

San Marcos (Hays County)

This structure was originally constructed in 1885 for use as the Kyle city jail.  The small wooden structure contains a jail cell that was removed from the original 1873 Hays County Jail in San Marcos and donated to the newly developed town of Kyle by the Hays County Commissioners Court because a new Hays County Jail was constructed in 1885 and the cell was no longer needed.  Often referred to as a “calaboose,” small municipal jails such as this one generally served as short-term lock-ups. You can learn more about this building type at the Tiny Texas Jails website, a companion to the book, The Texas Calaboose and Other Forgotten Jails by William E. Moore published by Texas A&M University Press.

The Kyle Calaboose was constructed using a cribbing method where the walls built of timber from the ground up in a log-style cabin formation built to form a rectangular structure. An article in the San Marcos Cresset published on January 6, 1886 reported that “the first inmate of our new calaboose was a crazy woman from Caldwell County.” It remained in use in Kyle until at least 1925.

In 1961, the old jail was moved to the Texana Village at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos where it was used as an educational tourist attraction.  After the closure of the Texana Village in 1996, local advocates saved the structure and it currently awaits restoration behind the historic 1885 Hays County jail on Fredericksburg Street in San Marcos.