The official groundbreaking for the Cherokee National Prison restoration will take place tomorrow, May 6th. The ceremony begins at 11am at Choctaw St. and Water Ave., Tahlequah, OK.
Originally completed in 1875, the Cherokee National Prison was one of the first correctional facilities in Indian Territory and was the only penitentiary building in the entire Territory from 1875 to 1901.
Cherokee Nation officials will launch phase one of the Cherokee National Prison Museum with focus on controlling moisture problems through the foundation, basement and walls, as well as taking the exterior structure back to its era of significance. The interior restoration will preserve as much historic fabric as possible, while preparing the structure for an interpretive center. Phase two will have an emphasis on landscaping, fencing and parking among other projects.
The Cherokee National Prison Museum will allow visitors to experience the history of crime and punishment in the Cherokee Nation as well as reliving the infamous Cherokee outlaw stories.
Once opened, the Cherokee National Prison Museum will be the second Cherokee Nation wholly owned and operated museum following the recent dedication of the Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum.
The building is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.