ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Historical Society has been forced to relinquish the old Hancock County sheriff’s home and jail due to the building’s failing infrastructure.
Historical Society President Bill Fogle says the Old Jail has been under the society’s care since 1979, but will now be under the control of the county.
He said the jail first opened in 1886 and was operational until the 1970s.
Fogle said the building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 and is one of the few remaining jails built to include a residence for the sheriff.
He said the main factor for the relinquishment is the high cost of repairs the building needs.
“The price tag on restoring the building is $1.5 million. We don’t have it. There has been discussion with the county before and both sides are aware that the building might have to be taken down,” Fogle said.
Fogle said he hopes the jail can be saved by donors to preserve its history for future generations.