Browse Exhibits (2 total)
Florida’s local sheriff was often the most powerful and influential member in his or her community. Of course, with great power came great responsibility. The sheriff fulfilled an array of duties and often set the political and moral tone for the community in which he or she served. Most performed their duties with honor and integrity, often serving at great personal sacrifice. Others chose to act less wisely. The sheriff’s authority and manner of serving gradually changed as the century progressed and new legislation attempted to balance power between local and state law enforcement. With Great Power is a photographic exhibit comprised of images from the State Archives of Florida relating to the state’s county sheriffs in the early to mid-twentieth century.
The 1841 Legislative Council of Florida determined “that the peace and security of the country demand that a good and sufficient jail should be built in each of the judicial districts.” The second jail built in Monticello – the seat of government in one of the state’s oldest counties – was established as a public service building in the center of town. Its purpose was to ensure its citizens were safe and miscreants received justice. The county sheriff – one of the most powerful and influential people in town – not only directed the jail but also lived on the premises with his (or her) family. Throughout his term, a single iron door was the only physical barrier between the sheriff’s public career and private life. Decades after the old jail officially closed its doors, community leaders are working to repurpose the building to serve the public as a museum. Public Faces and Private Spacesis a photographic exhibit surrounding the history of the old county jail and potential for its future.