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The Churchill County Jail was built in 1906, two years before the city of Fallon was established. Prior to the completion of the jail, inmates were housed in various locations throughout Churchill County. The erection of the jail played a significant role in the early development of Fallon – its construction was one of the first acts of the newly organized government in Fallon which led to the development of a permanent community. Additionally, the old Jail is the best-preserved example of native stone construction within the Lahontan Valley.

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Before the construction of the Churchill County Jail, inmates from the surrounding county were housed in various locations such as Buckland Station, which resided east of Fort Churchill, as Buckland was the county seat in 1861. The county seat was moved during the October of 1867 to the Stillwater area of Churchill County. The Churchill County Commissioner meeting minutes on January 5, 1869 call for proposals for the construction of a building suitable a courthouse. It was during this time that a small settlement sprang up which would come to be known as Fallon. In 1905, the minutes of the Churchill County Commissioners’ meeting on May 1 reported the authorization to issue bonds that would be put towards erecting a county jail.  

The jail became the second structure built in Fallon as the newly developed township was eagerly organizing an official government. Many small mining towns in Nevada began as a courthouse and a jail, which gave the place legitimacy as an organized and stable community. The Churchill County Jail was completed in 1906 and once it was officially accepted by the County Commissioners, it began operations under Sheriff Robert Shirley. While the surrounding block changed over time, the courthouse and jail remained the same, serving as the center point around which Fallon grew. The jail functioned in this capacity until 1973, when a larger facility was required. In 1974, the Churchill County Jail was given to the Churchill County Search and Rescue, and at that time, the old cell block was cut out with blowtorches and removed from the structure. 

Churchill County Jail, National Register of Historic Places. Accessed December 10th 2020.

Churchill County Jail, Wikipedia. Accessed January 21st 2021.