South Carolina Picture Project

Great Falls Jail — Great Falls, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Chester County  |  Great Falls Jail

This abandoned jail – nicknamed “Stoney Lonesome” – stands on the bank of the Catawba River in Great Falls. Thought to have been built around 1912, the jail was unearthed during a 2011 excavation led by the town.

Great Falls Jailhouse

Charles Payne of Rock Hill, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1905, Southern Power Company was founded by William States Lee, Dr. W. Gill Wylie, and James Buchanan Duke (Southern Power later became Duke Power). After the completion of the dam and power house in 1907, the three men recruited more investors and founded Republic Textile Mills Company to capitalize on the massive hydroelectric power that their energy business had harnessed. The first Republic Mill opened in Great Falls in 1910, followed by another in 1917 and a third in 1923. The commercial district of Great Falls developed during this time, and that is likely when this two-cell jail was built.

Great Falls Jail

Charles Payne of Rock Hill, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The present mayor of Great Falls, Donald Camp, suspects that use of the jail was discontinued around 1951. After its closing, the vacant building of 360 square feet sat neglected. Some believe that when the first Republic Cotton Mill expanded its parking lot, the jail was blanketed with dirt. Over time, soil continued to accumulate around the jail while vegetation grew on top of it. Since being unearthed, no plans have been made for the building beyond clearing the area around it.

The jail is 20 feet deep and 18 feet wide with a cement floor and roof. Remaining within its brick walls are a toilet, a vent pipe, and a bed frame. Metal bars still guard the windows, which prevented those captured in Stoney Lonesome from escaping down the roaring Catawba River.

Great Falls Jail Info

Address: Dearborn Street, Great Falls, SC 29055
GPS Coordinates: 34.566086,-80.888961

Great Falls Jail Map

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