Russellville has a secret. It’s a secret few know about and still, fewer have even heard about. This secret is a two-story brick building on the northeast corner of the West 4th and North Owen Street intersection. The Logan County Sheriff’s Department to the north and the Logan County PVA to the east are immediate neighbors. This building, once the former jailer’s residence, now houses the historic county records and operates as the County Archives.
The Archives is home to the Logan County Genealogical Society, who has the task of caring for the oldest of Logan County’s records. A few of the official records kept here date back to the late 1780s, just before the birth of Logan County. Many records are for family members of well-known Logan County natives such as Jim Bowie, the families of infamous characters such as Jesse James, and for family members of the everyday person such as yourself. The most recognizable records are deeds, marriages, and wills. There are also court cases, mortgages, school records, and others too numerous to name. But wait, that’s not all.
Other records on site are those submitted by community members both near and far. There is a vast photograph collection, some identified but many unknown. The family files include research and document copies from others across the country. Local annuals, church histories, community files, military records, and much more has been collected or donated for research. Various published genealogies assist researchers with forgotten or unknown family connections. There are books with information on places of origin for these people, as well as books with information on the places they moved to and settled. They are all open records just waiting to be accessed by you and that is the best part! These records remind us of the lives in an era long forgotten and only imaginable through the magic of television and movie screens.
If research isn’t your thing, there is an option for the history lover, too. The Archives staff and the Genealogical Society volunteers are available for individual or group tours through the building. You can learn about the day-to-day operation of the historic jail, hear about some of the resident’s memories, and be entertained by stories of the inmate’s shenanigans.
The Archives are vital to the community in a way that few realize. First and foremost, this building keeps our history accessible to everyone. Second, this building keeps our records local, otherwise, all of Logan County’s records would be sent to Frankfort to the State Archives for safekeeping. Third, the Archives bring people from all over the world to our community and that translates to tourism dollars spent locally.
If you’d like more information on group tours, you can contact the Archives at 270-726-8179 or visit them at 278 West 4th Street. If you’d like to conduct your own family research, no appointments are necessary during business hours which are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may visit their website at www.logankyarchives.com for additional information.