"This building was erected In 1911 by John Higgins on the property, located on the east side of Johnston Street, which he had purchased from the estate of Thomas Johnston. The barn behind the jail was constructed by Johnston In 1877. As was the practice in those times, Higgins may have rented the jail to San Mateo County then ultimately sold It to the County.
Prisons, Museums - History
The facility served as a Sheriff's Sub-station with an office and two small cells until 1966 or 1967, according to John Edmonds, historian for the Sheriff's department. The cells were used essentially as overnight holding cells for any prisoners awaiting transfer to the Redwood City jail and as a place to sleep off a binge by local citizens who liked to Imbibe too much in the town's saloons now and then.
In the early 1970's the county's Mental Health Services social workers had no base office on the coastside until early 1976 when long-time social worker Sally Boddinghouse found office space in the now empty county jail on Johnston. She was allotted $500 to renovate the facility into office space for four persons, including a desk for the Sheriff's department. It was tight quarters, remembers Ned Brasher who joined the coastside staff that year. They would Interview clients in restaurants, In the Methodist Church Sunday School room, often in their cars. If there was no other alternative and an Interview had to be conducted in the former jail, three of the staff had to disappear from the premises to assure confidentiality In the Interview. In December of 1977 the Mental Health services staff moved to more spacious quarters in the Hatch Building several blocks away.
In 1989 San Mateo County turned the building over to the City of Half Moon Bay which now leases it for $1.00 a year to the Spanishtown Historical Society. The society has renovated it extensively and prepared the historical exhibits of interest in this small museum for those who would like to know more about life in early Spanishtown/Half Moon Bay."