Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Prison before Arizona became a State

"The prison accepted its first inmate on July 1, 1876. For the next 33 years 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, served sentences there for crimes ranging from murder to polygamy. The prison was under continuous construction with labor provided by the prisoners.In 1909, the last prisoner left the Territorial Prison for the newly constructed  state Prison in Arizona.  _ Yuma Territorial Prison Info

Recently, We headed to an old 1800's Territorial Prison that is on the border of California, Arizona and Mexico.  The Prison was built on a large river cliff and out in an area  desert where there wasn't much but the Prison in the 1880s.  The  Prison had prisoners with all sorts of sentences - disputes, adultery, polygamy, stealing, murder.

This was one of the worst territorial prisons you could be at -   super hot tempatures, rattle snake bites, small pox, etc.  The Prisoners had to make things to barter or go with out here although the did have a library and were taught to read.  There were not many repeat offenders from this Prison. But, there were a few that escaped and got caught and tossed back in.

When you walk these halls you can hear voices calling out to you from the cells.  The Little Lady walked by one and a tape recorder that goes off by a motion sensor said, "Hey You. Ya. I am talking to  you. I don't like you!"   Then, the prisoner began to tell his story on how he got there.  The tape startled her a little bit and we got a good laugh.  

The Tower Guard in the 1880s was built over the water well.
It is such a beautiful view of the city from this tower.

The Children got in to the cell to pretend that I locked them up for a picture.  
In order to get them in I tossed Beloved in there too. 
He is just hiding in there!
 The visitor center had it where you could dress up for a mug shot! 
I liked these little signs better than the numbers. 
They made us all laugh.

 The Inmates had a lot of time on their hands. 
Their were displays of the crafts that they made.
These items are all made out of horse hair.
 The guy who hand crocheted this lace spent a lot of time in trouble in the dark pit.
                         When he wasn't created a ruckus he spent his time making these.
                                     This is how they slept in a cell. 6 to a cell.
                        It said that most actually became model citizens after doing their time here!

                                                                        I bet!
It was fun to visit the prison from the time when Arizona was just a territory. 
Although, slightly creepy too. 
We went and visited a little tiny church afterwards! 
Not purposely done but I did feel slightly better after we did! 


  1. Wow! This is so interesting and I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing all of this rich history. I can imagine the repeat offenders would be few to none. Yikes! It's really too bad prisons aren't like that today....maybe crime would drop instead of rise.
    I really enjoy your blog and your beautiful family. I found you through my sweet friend, Amelia! I have a blog called Nurturing the Heart, and met Amelia through Xanga, where our blogging friendship began, nearly ten years ago. Boy how time flies! Please feel free to pop over and say hello, if you have a chance!
    Blessings to you,

  2. Interesting. The pictures were fun. I think I would feel a little creepy too.

  3. I really enjoyed visiting the old Idaho State Pen. Very interesting and yes, creepy. Looks like you guys had fun. Love the signs the kids are holding. Very cute. Thank you for your congrats on our new baby. I'm starting to see some red highlights in her hair. Hope you are all having a great summer! Blessings, Jackie


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