This old strap-iron jail was once used as a community fundraiser during the Elks Club’s “Helldorado Days” in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the 1930s and 1940s. Now it is on display at the Clark County Museum in Henderson, Nevada. Photo by David Galloway


1830 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, Nevada

This old strap-iron jail is at the Clark County Museum in Henderson, Nevada. According to Mark Hall-Patton, administrator of the county’s museum system, it was used during the 1930s and 1940s “Helldorado” celebrations in Las Vegas for the “Whiskerino” contests. Men in town for the celebration, who did not grow a beard had to purchase a badge or risk being thrown in jail. Such fundraisers were common during community festivals in towns throughout the West. According to an article posted on Facebook by the Gaming Museum of Las Vegas, in 1939, volunteers helped the expansion of the celebration by building a new “Helldorado Village” at Fifth and Linden streets. The old iron portable jail used was said to be similar to the jail used to house prisoners in the early days of Las Vegas. 

More information: Clark County Museum; (702) 455-7955

Related: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (unless it’s an old jail, in which case it may be moved to Henderson)