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Town’s top historic attraction closed most days

Volunteers aging out 

old-jail

The Old Jail at the north end of Jasper’s Main Street.

The Old Pickens Jail on Main Street was slated to be open for self-guided tours the weekend of the Marble Festival, but festival-goers who arrived around 2:30 on Saturday were met with a locked door on one of the few days  the historical landmark is open.  

The problem was a shortage of volunteers from the Marble Valley Historical Society, the non-profit that maintains the county-owned building. The few volunteers the 37-year-old organization does have are getting older and many have health issues. That Saturday, for example, the jail was manned with four volunteers in the morning but two had to leave. The rest of the afternoon was handled by member Bob Perdue and his wife who wasn’t feeling well. 

 

“We went to get lunch and ran home for 15 minutes. I came back and she stayed,” said Perdue, who is the only member left who conducts tours. “We just don’t have anyone to keep it open. It’s pretty much just me now, and I’m not even from Pickens County. We’re all getting up there in age and some of us don’t get around as well as we used to.”

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