Throwback Thursday: Hidden history below Richland City Hall - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Throwback Thursday: Hidden history below Richland City Hall

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Courtesy: Richland Police Dept. Archives Courtesy: Richland Police Dept. Archives

RICHLAND, WA - A well-known city building in the heart of an old government town is home to a hidden bit of history. Below Richland City Hall is one of the most interesting storage spaces you'll likely ever find: an old jail cell block.

"There used to be scratchings along the ceilings where people would climb up and scratch things into the ceilings when they were prisoners here," said Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb, describing the re-painted drunk tank that was later converted into the first RPD K-9 'office.'

Each cell on the men's side of the jail cell block had two bunks. There was just one shower for all of the men to share.

"This was it for the city," said Cobb. "We would house prisoners for the City of Richland, Washington State Patrol if they arrested a DUI in the city limits. They would also come out here to process their DUIs and District Court used to be where City Council chambers are right now."

The jail closed in the 1980's. Today it's used for storage. For vets to the force, like Captain Cobb, a walk through the old jail cell block is also a walk down memory lane.

"Names that you still see here that haven't been removed are names from Tri-City Regional SWAT Team that stored their equipment here," said Cobb inside of the original isolation cell. "This used to be my cubby."

The jail cell block was state-of-the-art at the time it opened back in the late 1950's. There is an old newspaper clipping of Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant's grandfather, a sergeant for RPD then, showing off the jail.

"Just to see where it was that we were and where it is that we are extends a great amount of gratitude," said Cobb. "Primarily to the citizens of Richland. They've been so fantastically supportive. All the 35 years I've worked here I could not have chosen a better group of people I get to work with every day."