In March of 1805, Oxford County was officially
established, with Paris selected as the County Seat. One of the first business
transactions for the new county was to acquire property for, and then build,
the County buildings. There is no record of what happened to the very first
jail building supposedly built from the plans in the 1805 papers, other than
a reference in the transaction for the building currently standing that
directs that the second building be built on the site of the first.
"1805 Prison in Paris"
The building that now houses the library and museum was
built in 1822, of granite blocks quarried in the town of Oxford, and dragged
up Paris Hill over the frozen ground of winter. The building was two stories,
as it appears today, except that the second floor was accessible only by a
door from the outside, making each floor entirely self-contained, reportedly
with a stove on each floor. Plans were explicit; even a diagram has survived.
However, there is little documentation, only speculation and deduction, about
what was actually built.
"1822 jail building"
By the 1850's, the railroad had come through the
valley; and by 1896, new County Buildings had been built in South Paris, to
take better advantage of this. The County Seat, with all the community
activity that entails, was moved down there permanently. The buildings in
Paris now reverted to private ownership. The vacant jail building was
purchased by Dr. Augustus C.
Hamlin, nephew of Hon. Hannibal
H. Hamlin (Vice President of the United States during Lincoln's first term).