Daviess County Rotary (Squirrel Cage) Jail
Exterior of the famous Squirrel Cage Jail
Backstory and Context
The Daviess County Squirrel Cage Jail serves as a visitors' information center in Gallatin,
Missouri. Its construction was completed in 1889. Its unique architectural design
provided answers to concerns about prisoner security, worries about both prisoners
breaking out and accomplices breaking in: rotary jails, where a round
"squirrel cage" divides into jail cells and spins on a single axis
inside a perimeter of stationary bars. This design was touted as a means to cut down on breakouts (and break-ins) by limiting access by the jailors to the prison cells directly.
Eight rotary jails are known to have been constructed, all variations of the patented design by the Pauley Jail Building & Mfg. Company of St. Louis.This is one of the three remaining rotating jails in the United States still standing today as visual markers of yesteryear.