Surplus City jail cell going to Gold Hill Mesa
The historic one-man jail cell that once helped identify Dave Lippincott's Surplus City store will soon find new life in the Gold Hill Mesa subdivision.
The roughly 5-ton steel-barred unit will fit with the historical themes of the development, explained D. Wendal Attig of the Gold Hill Mesa Township Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Over time the plan is to have a number of artifacts, “strategically located” around the 214-acre property, he said.
The cell's late 1800s build date matches the time frame when gold-milling was getting started in Colorado Springs. “They used cells like this as temporary holding tanks for thieves and other unsavory characters before they had other places to put them,” Attig said.
Lippincott, who closed his store in the 2700 block of Colorado Avenue last spring, said he is glad the cell will stay in the area - mainly because he now believes it was originally in the old County Courthouse. “I couldn't be happier about that,” he said. “I tried every way I could think of to keep it here, but (at first) I couldn't find anyone to buy it.”
After getting turned down by the County Sheriff's Office and the Old Colorado City Historical Society (among others), Lippincott actually had it sold to someone in Minnesota, but that buyer ran into transportation issues and was happy to re-sell it to Gold Hill.
A metal plate identifies the unit as a “Pauly Jail” from St. Louis, Mo. An Internet search shows that the Pauly Jail Building Company is still in business, operating out of Indianapolis and identifying itself as the “the oldest professional correctional facilities contractor in the United States.”
The cell had not yet moved this week, but Bob Willard, manager of the LLC, said the relocation is in the works. He's got the forklift; he just needs a flatbed truck to put it on. The cell's initial location will be near the construction trailers at the upper part of the Gold Hill site, off Lower Gold Camp Road, where it will actually have a functional use. Certain “high-value” items will be locked inside. “In the old days, the cell kept bad guys in,” Willard said. “Now it will keep bad guys out.”
In related news, Lippincott explained that the old Army tank, which had been in front of the store for about 20 years, was sold to a collector in Loveland named Russ Morgan. “He's going to restore it and run it,” Lippincott explained.
Asked how the tank was moved, he answered dryly, “With some degree of difficulty.” He said that Morgan brought down a tractor-trailer, then had to “spin it (the tank) to get it out, using a winch. It was kind of a fun project.”
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