BREVARD HISTORY: Water Storage Tank Used as Jail in 1969 By Titusville Police Department

By  //  March 30, 2020

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The cost to house a prisoner in the county jail at the time was $2.67 per day

An old 1920s-era ground-level water storage tank behind where City Hall was located at the time on South Palm Avenue, was converted into the City’s jail, affectionately called “the tank,” and “the roundhouse,” by police officers, at a cost of around $4,000. (TPD image)

BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – In March 1968, the Titusville Police Department found a temporary solution to save City funds and utilize city prisoners as “trustees” to perform tasks, such as washing police cars.

The cost to house a prisoner in the county jail at the time was $2.67 per day per person.

An old 1920s-era ground-level water storage tank behind where City Hall was located at the time on South Palm Avenue, was converted into the City’s jail, affectionately called “the tank,” and “the roundhouse,” by police officers, at a cost of around $4,000.

“The tank,” which stored the city’s older documents and materials after being drained, had a three-foot thick concrete floor and walls,
chain link fencing from floor to ceiling separating the cells, and bunk beds stuck in the corners of the make-shift cells.

Although the individual cells stayed locked, the entry/exit doors to the tank always stayed open since the air conditioner did not work. The jail only housed men convicted of misdemeanor offenses and those violating Titusville city ordinances, “minimum security types,” 12 at a time.

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Females and males violating county ordinances, state or federal laws,nd those males convicted of felony offenses were sent to the county
jail across the street. The department used its staff to patrol the jail and even cook for the prisoners.

Reportedly, few prisoners ever returned to the jail after spending any amount of time there. With the temperature reaching upward of 102 degrees inside the tank during the summer, the thought of ending up in the tank jail after committing a crime was certainly a good incentive to be on one’s best behavior.

The jail was permanently closed only five short months after it was opened in August of 1969 and demolished in December of 1970.

From the time of closure to this day, all city prisoners are detained at the Brevard County jail. 

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