Raleigh - The Angus Barn is donating a piece of history to the Department of Correction Thursday, Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. in the back parking lot of the restaurant off Hwy 70.
Not until Angus Barn's maintenance engineer, Gregg Aardal, read a newspaper account of the only two known prison cages, one in Yadkin and one in Alexander County, did he suspect what was sitting under a clump of vines behind the Angus Barn.
Aahrdal said he can only guess as to why the 1920's-era prison cage is on their property. One theory is that the late Thad Eure, Jr., owner of the Angus Barn and Darryl's restaurants travelled to auctions to buy artifacts for his establishments.
"We are grateful to the Angus Barn for recognizing the historic value of this prison cage and donating it to the department," Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman said. "When refurbished, this cage will serve as an historic reminder of past ages when cruel conditions ruled over common decency."
A dozen or more inmates were housed in portable prison cages which were hauled first by mules, later by tractors, from one road construction site to another to work under the state's Good Roads Policy, building a North Carolina highway system. The life expectancy of inmates housed in these conditions averaged five years according to one report.
Joining Secretary Freeman at the media briefing will be Van Eure, daughter of the former Thad Eure, Jr. The cage will be lifted by crane onto the back of a flatbed truck and transported to a prison storage shelter where inmates from Wake Correctional Center will help refurbish the cage by removing rust. A site to display the cage is yet to be decided.