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Statewide Endangered

2011 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places 














June, 2012: Landmarks Illinois was able to provide a follow-up technical assistance report for this site with a grant from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Click here for report.


Sheriff’s Residence and Jail

259 W. State St., Paxton
(Ford County)


Located next to the Ford County Courthouse, this 1871 Italianate-style, brick house served as a sheriff’s residence, with an attached stone jail, for 120 years. It was sold in 1993 to private buyers who planned to create a bed and breakfast, but they were unable to carry out the project and the property has sat vacant for several years. The County repurchased the structure in 2007 with the intent of using it to relocate probation offices from the courthouse. However, county officials have since decided against this approach and have suggested possible demolition. Local advocates have urged the County to consider other options, such as leasing the property for office space or for a community use. To date, county officials have been unwilling to consider these options.

The former Ford County Sheriff’s Residence and Jail is thought to be the earliest building – serving this dual purpose – of its kind in the state. Built in 1871, a large wrap-around porch was added to the house portion after 1900. The jail, built of Indiana limestone, and also built in 1871, continued to function until 1993 when a new jail was built. The last county sheriff resided in the house until 1989, when it was converted into office space.

After Ford County vacated the facility in 1993, the community was supportive of the bed and breakfast plans, which would get the property on the tax-rolls. However, the incomplete project left the building vacant and unheated. After the County repurchased the building, a new roof was added. Now that the County has reversed its plan to relocate probation offices there, the County has discussed demolition as an option, rather than selling or leasing it. If demolished, the County would likely use the land for development of a new county-related building.

What You Can Do


Encourage the Ford County Board to reuse the historic Sheriff’s Residence and Jail or to sell or lease it for private or community use. Contact:


Mr. Rick Bowen, Chairman
The Ford County Board
Ford County Courthouse, Room 101
West State Street
Paxton, IL 60957









Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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