The Cottonwood Jail was built in late 1929 and first occupied in 1930 by the Yavapai County Justice of the Peace. It was used for the overflow of bootleggers and criminal acts associated with bootlegging. It was the first building in the Cottonwood area to be constructed from river rock cobbles. Larger stones were used to re-enforce the corners of the building. There would be no escaping these walls!
Joe Hall was known as the Cottonwood, Arizona’s bootlegger king and first to be jailed in the new facility. Many say there was some sort of a Joe Hall/Al Capone connection. Capone is said to had been working the Arizona area and searching for Arizona bootleggers to help run illegal alcohol from California over the Mexican border. Did Al Capone visit Joe when he was in jail? Maybe. Al Capone’s name is carved on the wall just outside of the jail cell.
The jail is the sight of several suicide hangings. During the prohibition years, some of the local Native Americans were arrested for public intoxication and housed in a crowded jail cell—sometimes 12 men to a cell. Many mornings the guard would find one of these men hung by their own discarded shirts.
Another story relates a young man’s suicide in the 1960’s or 1970’s. He was separated from a girlfriend when he was arrested and decided to hang himself in the cell. His distraught girlfriend later walked down to the river path behind the jail and hung herself as well.
In the past paranormal teams have caught shadows on camera, and recorded EVP of knocks responding on command. They have heard loud thuds coming from the jail cells as they monitored their cameras from another room. Large balls of energy fill the tiny hallway space that lead to the cells.
The jailhouse has been used as a film location for a number of movies and television shows. The 1946 movie “Desert Fury” was filmed there as well as an episode of Dragnet, and who can forget the 1967 Elvis movie “Stay Away, Joe.”
Recently the Clarkdale/Cottonwood Paranormal Workshop crew entered the jail house and did a quick investigation of the unique building. It is currently under construction and remodeling and therefore not available for tours, but do check back at a later date. It seems to be a very active location. And yes, Elvis has left the building.
Address: 1101 N Main Street, Cottonwood, Arizona 86326
Phone: (928) 634-9486
For more information: Debe Branning firstname.lastname@example.org