Shoe String Jack and the Old City Hall

This photo, courtesy of Randy and Sandy Winland, shows the original Marion city hall, jail and fire station shortly before it was razed in 1920. It was situated on the northeast corner of Church Street and Prospect Street. This photo was taken from the west side of Prospect Street.

Constructed in 1857, the old city hall was never one of Marion’s more distinguished-looking buildings. According to the book History of Marion County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens, “[T]he lower story [was] used as the Central Station of the Fire Department and as the city prison. The upper part [was] used for the mayor’s office, municipal court, police headquarters and sleeping quarters for the firemen.” It wasn’t a particularly beloved building, either. History of Marion County, Ohio goes on to say that “[t]he building will next year be half a century old and is a standing disgrace and eyesore to a city which in all other respects outclasses her sister cities.”

A headline to one of the "Shoe String Jack" articles appearing the the Marion Daily Mirror on March 31st, 1909.
A headline to one of the “Shoe String Jack” articles appearing the the Marion Daily Mirror in March of 1909.

In any case, in 1909 articles began appearing in the Marion Daily Mirror detailing some of the strange events that were happening there. There were rumors of the ghosts of men who had killed themselves in the jail cells there and reports of and “black snaky objects” hovering over the beds of sleeping firemen.

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of Haunted Marion, Ohio!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *