Hidden off the Fullerville community’s main thoroughfare is an old, square building, not much bigger than a walk-in closet that few outside Villa Rica even know exists.
Visible between two buildings in a curve on Rockmart Road is the old jail that served the Fullerville community for about a century. The building, which dates to 1828, features one window with iron bars and a single opening that is missing a door. Though one can see the old whitewashed building now if they know where to look, until a couple of years ago weeds and brush threatened to take the building over.
“It was so grown up over there, you couldn’t even see it,” City Manager Larry Wood said.
The Villa Rica Police Department originally took on the task to clean up the jail, but the project didn’t get very far due to a lack of community involvement.
“We didn’t do a whole lot other than clean up around it and paint it,” police Chief Michael Mansour said.“We were going to try to take it back to as close as it was and put things in it that would have been found there, but we didn’t get a lot of response.”
Former Fullerville resident Perry “Bill” Bailey has taken up the charge to keep the Fullerville jail from deteriorating beyond repair. Bailey, who has been working on the project for two years as part of a book he’s writing on the history of Fullerville, been able to track down through county property records that the building was first constructed in 1828.
Bailey has also found through talking to Fullerville residents that the jail was originally constructed of wood, but it burned down and was replaced with the concrete structure that stands today.
“The Fullerville Jail is a historic landmark in the Fullerville community with lots of history behind it,” Bailey said.
“I’m serious about this; I want something done. If I have to do it myself and organize a committee myself I’ll go to that extent because I think something needs to be done. The interest is certainly there in the community.”
Bailey, who now lives in Alabama, recently contacted Wood to find out what could be done to save the city-owned jail from being lost due to neglect and was told that the city could set up a restricted tax-deductible fund specifically for the jail reclamation project.
“We already qualify and already have similar funds, such as the fund for our gold mine museum,” Wood said.
In a recent excursion to Villa Rica to research his book, Bailey went to take pictures of the jail building and found that without a door it’s holding water and there are no lights inside for visitors to be able to see the interior. Aside from correcting those problems, Bailey would like to have a small parking lot placed in front of the jail for visitors, as well as some type of landscaping placed around it and a sign put up to turn it into a historical attraction.
“I’m looking for volunteers to raise money for the Fullerville jail restoration,” he said.“Also, people may try contacting their city, county, and state officials to see how much help they are willing to help us out.”
Anyone interested in helping with this effort, or with personal stories they would like to share about Fullerville for Bailey’s book, may contact him. Bailey has reserved the meeting room at the Villa Rica Public Library on June 6 and June 20, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., to conduct interviews for his book with anyone interested in providing information. No appointment is necessary and anyone willing to come forward to talk about Fullerville is welcome. Those interested can also bring pre-record or pre-taped interviews.