From here details of soldiers were dispatched, two hours on post and four hours off, during each 24-hour, guard-duty shift. The building contained an office (that doubled as a sleeping room for the commissioned "Officer of the Day"); guardroom with musket racks, fire buckets and a long, low single bunk where soldiers rested when off duty; a main cell; and two so-called “black holes” or solitary confinement cells. Soldiers, and sometimes American Indians and civilians, were confined here in the only jail in the territory.
The Guardhouse was the central police and fire station for the post, and a busy spot both day and night. On one night in the 1830s, it reportedly housed over 40 prisoners arrested for drunkenness! During the Civil War, a new, larger stone prison was constructed outside the fort’s walls and the Guardhouse was no longer used. It was demolished by 1880.
Connected to the Guardhouse was a room for storage of lime, used for making mortar and whitewash, and a room for charcoal, burned in the blacksmith’s forge. Research has yet to determine whether these rooms were present in the 1820s, though they certainly had been added by the next decade.
Costumed guides stand “guard duty” in the dress uniform of the 1820s Army and even portray prisoners under confinement in the Guardhouse.