Work on the new jail started in 1854.
By 1856 the house and jail were occupied.
The style and appearance of the house were purposely built to reflect that of other private homes - and the presence of the Sheriff's family was intended to be a positive role model for the prisoners.
The house's basement held the kitchen, dining room, cistern,
and storage. The first floor contained two offices for the Sheriff and his staff and a dual parlor in the front of the house. The top floor had four bedrooms for the Sheriff's family.
Initially, there were no accommodations for female inmates.
Eventually, upstairs bedrooms in the house were used, and in 1945, the north cell block was horizontally separated, and the second floor was used to house incarcerated women.
The sheriff’s wife assumed the duties of the jail matron, which included menu preparation, ordering and storage of food, supervision of the cook, and care of the female prisoners. The Lyons Republican of April 15, 1864, reported a menu of: