The Old Log Jail in Markleeville was constructed after the county seat was moved from Silver Mountain City (also known as Kongsberg) to Markleeville in 1872. The new jail was constructed from logs, and the builders used a mortise and tenon method, a building method where the tenon "tongue" is joined into the mortise "hole." The tongue is cut to perfectly fit the hole. The log style and the mortise-tenon building method make this jail unique. The jail contains two iron cells that were originally at the Silver Mountain City jail.
The remains of the jail from Silver Mountain City can be seen from Highway 4, a short drive from Markleeville. Though nothing more than the stone foundation is left of the Silver City Mountain jail, it is a relic of a time when the population of the Markleeville and Silver Mountain City were larger, when the appeal of mining and the hopes of striking it rich drew thousands of people to the region.
In 1969, the jail was donated to the Alpine County Historical Society in memory of Sheriff Orrin P. Brown, and moved to its present-day location next to the Alpine County Museum. It is now part of the Alpine County Historical Complex, and was registered as a state historic point of interest on August 13, 1987. A plaque was erected in 1992 by the Snow-Shoe Thomson Chapter of E. Clampus Vitus.
The Old Log Jail is at the Alpine County Historical Complex at 1 School Street off of Montgomery Street in Markleeville.
High in the Sierra along the Nevada border, Alpine County is sparsely populated, and is in fact the least populated county in California. Situated between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, Alpine County is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get away from the crowds. Grover Hot Springs State Park is in Alpine County, and parts of the El Dorado National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest, and Toiyabe National Forest are within Alpine County. In 1844, John C. Freemont’s expedition, accompanied by Kit Carson, passed through the area and over today’s Carson Pass. The Overland Emigrant Trail passed through this county, and is marked today by yellow painted iron markers and plaques. Markleeville is the County seat.