July 8, 1910 was a dark day in local history. Carl Etherington, a detective with the Anti-Saloon League of Ohio, had come to Newark to raid saloons and speakeasies for illegal alcohol. Etherington shot local saloon owner William Howard in self-defense, and was taken to the jail. In retaliation for the agents' activities, a mob formed. The crowd stormed the north side door of the jail, forcibly removed Etherington, and hanged him from a telephone pole on the southeast corner of the courthouse square. Governor Judson Harmon intervened to restore order. Fifty-eight of the mob participants were indicted: 25 for first degree murder, 10 for assault and battery, 21 for rioting, and 2 for perjury. Etherington's lynching received national attention because it stemmed from a local uprising against the Temperance Movement.
Designed by J. W. Yost, a renowned Ohio architect, the jail first opened for use in 1889. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure cost $120,000 to build. It was constructed of pink sandstone known as "brownstone," which was quarried near Millersburg, Ohio. The front three levels were built to house the families of the sheriff and the jail matron. Sheriff Andrew Crilly was the first to occupy the sheriff's quarters when the jail opened. The rear portion of the building was used for the incarceration of male
and female prisoners on separate floors. The 32 cells, each a minimum of 8' x 8' in size, had an official total capacity of 68 prisoners. However, well over that number were housed here at times. The jail building was last used for incarcerations in 1987.