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Old Boston Jail in New Boston, Texas

Abandoned prison
Literally taking no prisoners in New Boston - or Boston, but not Old Boston.

The old Boston Jail in New Boston, not to be confused with the original (Texas) Boston.

There are three Bostons in Bowie County, and the history is as convoluted as the names.

Old Boston was founded in the 1830s and became the seat of Bowie County when it was established in 1840 (after DeKalb had gotten the nod). Named after James Bowie, a frequent traveler in the region who died during the siege of the Alamo in 1836, Bowie County itself was once part of Red River County, which was established in 1836 after Texas became a republic. The area that became Red River County was carved out of Miller County, Arkansas Territory when the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 firmly established the region as belonging to New Spain. Thus, American settlers in what would become Bowie County swore loyalty to Mexico in order to receive title to their lands. However, Mexico tried to assert land claims by encouraging settlement by Indian tribes. This action may have contributed to Americans in eastern Mexican Texas forming allegiances with the growing independence movement, as they were generally hostile to Indian land claims. Revolutionary fervor began simultaneously by Americans in southeastern Texas as well as by men in Arkansas who owned land on the western side of the Red River. Several men who owned land in both Arkansas and what would become Bowie County, Texas signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Texarkana, founded in 1873 by the Texas and Pacific Railroad, briefly became the county seat in 1885, but Bostonians did not want take this lying down. They petitioned for a new county seat a few miles north of the original Boston. Thus, Boston became Old Boston, and Boston was founded. Voters approved the change in 1891.

But the tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railroad reached further north than the town’s center. The citizens of Boston moved their downtown a little bit further north to meet up with the tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The town that grew up around the train station became New Boston, to differentiate itself from Old Boston and Boston.

In 1987, the courthouse in Boston was burned by arsonists. This was a suspicious fire, since the county was in the red and officials had recently raised the insurance coverage... hmm. Also, a new, modern courthouse had been built off the interstate, and no one wanted to deal with the old building anymore. The only reminder of this calamity are foundations and the county’s two-story, pink-bricked jail, which still sits on what used to be the city’s courthouse square.

Since the county's courthouse now sits on I-30, should it be called Newest Boston?

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21 de dez. de 2023

With a minor touch-up the old jail could resemble The Alamo. (Remember?)

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