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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Old Idaho Penitentiary, Boise, Idaho

The Old Idaho Penitentiary is next to the Idaho Botanical Garden.  One stop parking without a time limit was very handy.

The original penitentiary opened in 1872 as a Territorial Prison.  Idaho became a state in 1890 and the Territorial Prison became the Idaho Penitentiary.  Overcrowding lead to construction of a larger facility in 1893.

The Territorial Prison
became the Idaho Penitentiary.

The prisoners wore balls & chains
and later 28 pound metal "cuffs" 
to keep them from scaling the walls.

The Warden's Office, Armory,
Visitation Room, Control Room
& Turn Key Area were in the
Administration Building.

 The Multipurpose Building
served as the shirt factory,
 shoe shop, bakery,
license plate shop,
laundry, hobby room,
loafing room  & housed
 the communal showers.

The other side of the wall....
The prisoners dreamt of this view.

The Commissary &
Trustees Quarters

The Penitentiary was often overcrowded, leading to the construction of more cell houses.  

The newest Cell House
was built in 1954.

The Women's Ward was built after
women were housed together
on the same cell block with
male prisoners.

It is outside the prison walls
& is set up like a "mini prison."

Two women to a cell.

I think they stored their things
under the curtain that hangs
beneath the window.

The Dining Hall was destroyed
by fire during a riot in 1973.
The Chapel was also destroyed
during rioting in 1973.

Rioting occurred in 1973, shortly before the Penitentiary closed and the prisoners were dispersed to other prisons in Idaho.

The Idaho Penitentiary was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 because it had been a Territorial Prison.  It is managed by the Idaho Historical Society.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've completely explored Boise. I'm guessing it's crossed off the bucket list permanently. Geoff

Ginny said...

Boise is a pleasant city. We will be back to visit more museums, parks & restaurants. The bike trails need further exploration too.