Sitting on the southeast corner of the Hockley County Courthouse Square is a rather nondescript two-story white building built in 1938 as a jail. The lower northeast section was reserved for living quarters for the county sheriff. The second floor housed an odd number of 13 jail cells. Cooking for the prisoners fell upon the sheriff’s wife who apparently lived in the jail as well.
The first sheriff to move into the building was Ed Hofacket. Elected as sheriff in 1936 he had over 700 arrests within the first few years and never had to use a gun.
Above the north jail entrance, a faded eerie forewarning remains: “$10 fine to talk to prisoners.” Information on where this originated or why it was in place has not been found yet.
The current courthouse constructed in 1928 has three prominent floors. What most people don’t know is that a narrow spiral staircase leads to a fourth floor that was used as a county jail before the 1938 structure was built. Long abandoned for over 30 years after the new jail was built its now used for various storage items, especially old files.
Photographs – © Christena Stephens Photography