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Old Log Jail (No. P688 California State Historical Point of Interest)

Historic Site or District
The Old Log Jail in Markleeville is now part of the Alpine County Historical Complex. – Noe Hill Travels California

California Points of Historical Interest

California Points of Historical Interest are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of local (city or county) significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value.

Points of Historical Interest designated after 1997 are recommended by the State Historical Resources Commission, and are also listed on the California Register.

Historical resources that are designated as Points of Historical Interest are not designated as Landmarks. Points of Interest are of local significance, while Landmarks are of statewide significance. Points that are granted Landmark status are retired from their Points of Interest designation.

To be designated as a Point of Historical Interest, a resource must meet at least one of the following criteria:

1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type within the local geographic region (City or County)

2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of the local area

3) A prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement, or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in the local region of a pioneer architect, designer, or master builder.

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The Old Log Jail in Markleeville was constructed after the county seat was moved from Silver Mountain City (also known as Kongsberg) to Markleeville in 1872. The new jail was constructed from logs, and the builders used a mortise and tenon method, a building method where the tenon "tongue" is joined into the mortise "hole." The tongue is cut to perfectly fit the hole. The log style and the mortise-tenon building method make this jail unique. The jail contains two iron cells that were originally at the Silver Mountain City jail.

The remains of the jail from Silver Mountain City can be seen from Highway 4, a short drive from Markleeville. Though nothing more than the stone foundation is left of the Silver City Mountain jail, it is a relic of a time when the population of the Markleeville and Silver Mountain City were larger, when the appeal of mining and the hopes of striking it rich drew thousands of people to the region.

In 1969, the jail was donated to the Alpine County Historical Society in memory of Sheriff Orrin P. Brown, and moved to its present-day location next to the Alpine County Museum. It is now part of the Alpine County Historical Complex, and was registered as a state historic point of interest on August 13, 1987. A plaque was erected in 1992 by the Snow-Shoe Thomson Chapter of E. Clampus Vitus.

The Old Log Jail is at the Alpine County Historical Complex at 1 School Street off of Montgomery Street in Markleeville.

Alpine County

High in the Sierra along the Nevada border, Alpine County is sparsely populated, and is in fact the least populated county in California. Situated between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, Alpine County is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get away from the crowds. Grover Hot Springs State Park is in Alpine County, and parts of the El Dorado National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest, and Toiyabe National Forest are within Alpine County. In 1844, John C. Freemont’s expedition, accompanied by Kit Carson, passed through the area and over today’s Carson Pass. The Overland Emigrant Trail passed through this county, and is marked today by yellow painted iron markers and plaques. Markleeville is the County seat.

Time Period Represented



11 am - 4pm

Seasons Open

Memorial Day through October

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