In May, we put out an article on Alex Hamlin, who was a barber in Park City in the late 1910s and early 1920s. In addition to his barbering, Hamlin spent time getting into fights and running alcohol in the early days of Prohibition. By most accounts, his Park City life was one of lawbreaking.
Hamlin also spent time with other shady characters. Another barber in his employ was Roy Kisor, a man on parole from the Utah State Penitentiary who was known about town as “the fighting barber.” Apparently, Hamlin and Kisor made up the meanest and toughest barbering duo in Park City history, at least by reputation. It’s a wonder they entertained much business with their fist-forward approach.
Roy Kisor was arrested in April of 1921 for passing bad checks. Unable to pay bail, he was locked in the jail in the basement of City Hall. He was likely in one of the three smaller cells along the jail’s south wall. As he was in violation of his parole, Kisor was looking to expedite the duration of his stay behind bars.
While the sheriffs were away, Kisor broke a piece of water pipe off the wall and a piece of iron from his cot, then used them to pry the iron door from his cell completely off its hinges. He then used the door as a ladder, propped against most likely either the north or east walls of the jail (the north wall faces what is now the alley between the Park City Museum and Main Street Pizza & Noodle while the east wall faces Swede Alley). He stood on top and dug a hole at the top of the foundation wall and bottom of the floor above, wriggled through, and escaped into the night. The officers suspected he hopped on one of the departing trains from Park City’s Union Pacific Depot down the street. He was never seen or heard from again.
In the Museum, we have an extra jail cell door that we put on the entrance to the jail in our lower level exhibits (see above picture). The door has a noticeable bend in the side that would have had the lock. Original Park City Historical Society officers and original Museum staff are not sure where the door was in use in the old jail. It was placed in its current position in 2008 during the Museum’s expansion. It’s possible the door was the one pried off the hinges by Roy Kisor, which was then replaced by the City or perhaps continued to be used in its bent state.
If it is the same door, we hold the last physical mark Kisor made in Park City. His footprints have long disappeared and the hole he made at the top of the wall was patched. Many other residents of the jail made marks on the walls to commemorate their time in the jail, in addition to graffiti made after the jail closed, but perhaps Kisor made the biggest dent of all, literally.
The Park City Museum only has a couple more weeks of Main Street historic walking tours and Glenwood Cemetery tours. Sign up at parkcityhistory.org.
 “The Kisor Breaks Jail.” Park Record, April 29, 1921.