Historical Perspective: The Old Oracle Jail

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The old Oracle Jail.

  Many living in Oracle and the Tri-Community probably do not know that there is a jail in town. The jail building is still standing, although it is now used as a storage room in the Pinal County yard on Justice Avenue.

Plaque showing that construction was done by Leverton & Sharpe Construction.

  The jail was built in 1929. A plaque on the jail says LEVERTON & SHARPE CONTRACTORS. The contractors were J.I. Leaverton and Alfred S. Sharpe, both residents of Oracle at the time. J.I. Leaverton was the son of J.C. Leaverton, Deputy Sheriff in Oracle and one of Mammoth’s pioneers arriving in the area around 1895. He moved to Oracle in 1925.

  Plans and construction of the jail began in 1928. The Pinal County budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1929 showed that $700 had been budgeted for estimated expenditures for the Oracle jail. A Jan. 24, 1929 article in the Arizona Daily Star reported, “Construction work on the Oracle Jail is progressing rapidly. The guest list for the house-warming has not yet been announced.”  The jail was completed in February.

The bars over the window are still there.

  The Oracle jail saw its first prisoner in May 1929. The Daily Star said, “The comforts and conveniences of the recently completed Oracle jail are vouched for by its first patrons who lodged there Saturday night. One of them, arrested on charges of carrying a gun and drunkenness obtained his liberty after paying a $20 fine assessed by Justice Jamieson, and the other was released upon promise to leave town immediately.”

The building still has the original door.

A closeup of the lock.

John Hernandez (632 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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