Local News in Brief : Historic Designation Sought for Jail
A relic from the city’s rip-roaring past, the Old El Monte Jail held some of the most unsavory characters to ride in the dying days of the Old West. For 42 years, the jail held the desperadoes and delinquents lucky enough to escape the “El Monte Boys” and the vigilante justice they delivered.
Now, more than half a century after the jail’s heyday, a campaign has started to have it designated as a state point of historical interest.
In November, the city was designated a state landmark for the part it played in California history as the end of the Santa Fe Trail. The jail was built in 1880 when El Monte was the main crossroad between Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Pedro, attracting its share of gambling saloons, lynchings and shoot-outs. History paints it as a rough-and-ready place where trail-hardened men settled disputes with knives and guns.
Plans call for the jail on grounds of the El Monte Museum of History to be moved to Pioneer Park along with a covered wagon.