The community of Fort Davis grew up around the military post of the same name, established by the U.S. Army in 1854 to protect travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road. Fort Davis was designated as the Presidio county seat when the county was organized in 1875, but the county seat was relocated to Marfa in 1885. When Jeff Davis County was organized in 1887, Fort Davis was again selected as a county seat.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2010
This jail structure was built in 1910-1911 along with a new county courthouse; the two buildings replaced an adobe courthouse and jail structure built in 1880, when Fort Davis was the seat of Presidio County. Architect L.L. Thurman of Dallas designed both the new courthouse and jail, and Falls City Construction Company of Louisville, Kentucky, was contracted to construct both buildings.
The structure is a small-scale example of the fortress-style jails and prisons that were popular in the United States during the 19th century. The one-story jail building was constructed with pressed concrete block which was plastered and scored to resemble ashlar blocks. A crenellated parapet tops the four exterior walls. The interior is divided into four rooms, including a front entryway and office, a kitchen, a jailer's bedroom, and the cell block that included the entire rear portion of the building.
The jail retained its original function until 1978, when the building no longer complied with current jail standards, and it was decided that sending prisoners to Marfa would be more economically sound. Among other tenants, the county clerk's office occupied the building 2002-2009.