HomeTown - 19 - Jail House Rock
The oldest section of the Milton Town Hall that once served as the seat of Halton County, Courthouse, and Jail.
Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-64 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 8:00 @ 20C

In the archives of the Milton Champion newspaper, there is a file photo of two little boys looking with smiles on a ball and chain. The two boys are myself and my brother who took a tour of the Town Hall during a New Year’s Day event hosted by the town mayor Gord Krantz. And it shows the dark history of the town hall. When Halton County became independent, the Foster family wanted to ensure Milton’s status as the county seat, and in 1855 a county court, jail, and land registry office were completed. The building saw expansion in 1877 adding on the jail an exercise yard and a tower. Like any jail, two men saw public execution, Thomas Corner and Edward Keenan. The third and final execution of Michael O’Rourke in 1883 but that was done inside the walls. When Halton reorganised into a Regional Municipality and a new headquarters built in Oakville the need for the 19th Century castle became redundant, and the completion of a new courthouse on Steeles was the final blow. This is where the Milton Historical Society stepped in; the failure to save the old Bruce Street School had struck a blow, and the society formed to save the old courthouse and jail. The town purchased the entire building for a dollar from Halton and put in years of renovation allowing the building not only to be saved but take on the role of the new Town Hall in 1985. And yes, they preserved at least some of the old cells. There are many angles to choose to photograph the town hall, some harder than others. But wanting to capture the oldest section I decided to photograph it from the street to capture the original 1855 building, part of Hugh Foster Hall. Funny enough, I stood in front of the current Mayor’s house to get the shot.

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