Good Question

May 16, 2012 8:52 PM by John Reger, KSBY News

Good Question: Is there a jail in the basement of Charles Shoes?

Our Good Question this time comes from someone who says he's heard rumors about a building on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo. Greg Murphy wants to know, Does Charles Shoes in downtown SLO have an old jail in back? Good Question.

Charles Shoes sits on the site of the original City Hall built in 1879. The ground floor housed the Fire Department's horses and equipment, and behind all that a small jail with shackles and three cells.

A new jail was built in 1916 and the remnants can be found today in the basement of Charles Shoes, like metal bars over a vent and window... and a closet-like cell for solitary confinement. And if you walk through the storage area and take a left, you can still find the stalls for three showers.

The jail eventually moved out of downtown and a fire in 1938 left the building structurally unsound. It's been renovated many times over the years and the current owners bought it in 1952... From the family that started Charles Shoes.

Be sure to send your Good Question to or\JohnRegerKsbyNews. The only bad question is the one you don't ask. By the way, the History Center of SLO County offers a free walking-tour podcast of downtown San Luis Obispo at



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