Contributed by the Vedder Research Library The former Greene County Jail and Sheriff's Office on Bridge Street in Catskill. Note the awning over the entrance to the sheriff's office.

CATSKILL — Residents can learn more about the historical significance of the former Greene County Jail complex on Saturday before the relic becomes extinct.

Built in 1908, the jail and the sheriff’s office are listed on both national and state historic registries. Both buildings are slated to be demolished, with bid packages expected to go out later this month. Meg Nowack with Historic Catskill will present “The Completely Fascinating Story of the Old Greene County Jail” at 4 p.m. at the Bridge Street Theatre.

An evaluation performed by Dutch American Architectural Group in collaboration with Historic Catskill suggests the former Greene County Jail may be the last of its kind.

A similar jail complex with a corresponding sheriff’s office was built in Oswego County in 1909, according to the report. It was demolished in 2018. Jefferson County also had a similar jail, but that too no longer exists.

“It seems that most of the older jails are demolished during time, which means that the Greene County Jail can be the only survivor of this era,” according to the report. “This fact makes the contextual value extremely high. This building matters for our heritage and has potentially world status as an example of a county jail in iron and steel from the beginning of the 1900s.”

The manufacturer, Van Dorn, was one of the most well-known manufacturers of locks and jails in the world.

Components of the jail would have been prefabricated in a factory in Cleveland, Ohio, before they were transported by ship to Catskill. The parts were then brought up Bridge Street by horse and assembled.

“The facades were never changed and represent a high quality jail of 1908,” the report cites. “All handmade with limited tools. It is rare and of exceptional architectonic value. The originality of this jail is rare and therefore it has a high cultural heritage value. This can be the only jail of this size and make in the world.”

The county has explored a few options for using the parcel, including two parking lot designs with either 23 or 41 spots, estimated between $1.33 million and $1.9 million.

The engineering firm Barton & Loguidice estimated that to develop a new 5,000-square-foot office building on the parcel would cost between $1.13 million and $1.2 million.

Constructing a new office complex to meet the needs of the Office of Court Administration and possibly the Public Defender’s Office is an option, Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.

“[The public defender] is in need of space and it does make sense logistically,” he said. “I could potentially see it happening. It depends what kind of space is available.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(3) comments


There are no structural flaws in the 80 Bridge St. sheriffs office. When Ben Fein offered to buy the building and was denied a plot was revealed. Four engineers in a row lied about the condition of the building, a plot was revealed. County law section 216 requires the sheriffs office to be in the county seat. With justice reform is now promulgated there is no need for a large jail and Coxsackie. With the bail reform there will be less than 20 detainees at any time. The surrounding county jails Are over 60% empty.

And intelligent solution is to repair 80 Bridge St. we have a cost $3.8 million. And intelligent solution is to convert the monster and Coxsackie that’s being built into a legitimate medical treatment center.

If it’s not under the control of SCOC it’s eligible for large amounts of federal and state money for treatment. The proclamation that the village of Catskill passed which was forced on them by Ed Kaplan was approved because the mayor of the village of Catskill Vincent Sealy says that the county is psychotic and that if he didn’t go along they would retaliate.

The reader is encouraged to make their own interpretations.


Vincent Seeley (get the spelling right!) is psychotic?! The better question is, What is your mental health? Man, you better check your own mental health before accusing ANYONE ELSE of being so. Anyone whose anger and nasty comments can shut down a village board meeting (reference to last year's debacle in which your own comments shut down a meeting and were the talk of the town for a month!) is a potential danger to our community. You've got to BACK OFF! The battle is done, the deal is sealed. You lost!


Dear anonymous. I’m quoting Vincent Seeley’s comments about Greene County government, which I agree with. They’re psychotic. The new $90 million obligation to a poor county with negative growth (see: OutOfAlignment report by Central Hudson) explodes the 2% tax cap rules. The village was intimidated. Law requires that the Sheriff’s Office remain ten Catskill. Justice and bail reform, passed by Trump and Cuomo, means a new jail is an instant anachronism. We’ll have less than 20 detainees soon. Converting the new jail and repairing the Sheriff’s Office is consistent with finances and need. Yes, Ben Fein offered to buy 80 Bridge Street. The county doesn’t want to sell according to the minutes.

The battle is not a battle. The legal issues remain highly valid. You might guess I won’t “BACK OFF.” Thank you for your comments.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.