Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Old Idaho Penitentiary visit.

Some interesting facts about Boise pronounced boy-see not boy-zee. The name originally came from French trappers who were surprised to see all the trees by the river. Les Bois - The wood. The Oregon Trail passed not far from here. Boise and the surrounding cities have reached a population of over 660,000.
We went to visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary the other day. Beautiful on the outside - but inside - I sure wouldn't have wanted to be one of their guests. 
It was open from 1872 to 1973. The first, oldest, building was built in 1870.The Territory of Idaho was less than ten years old when the prison was built east of Boise. From its beginning as a single building it grew to a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a 17-foot high sandstone wall. All the stone for the buildings was quarried from the nearby ridges by the convicts, who also assisted in the construction. 

We did't tour all the buildings it was just too hot. 
The entrance to the building complex. Could almost be an entrance to a University.
This is across the street before going in the main building. It was the women's prison.
I thought I had the whole sign - guess I didn't. I do remember that the youngest prisoner was 10 or 11 years old
Death sentence was originally carried out by hanging.
Through the main building into the area where the prisoners lived. Looks pretty doesn't.

A look at some of the cells. There is another bunk on top. 
A little more room in this one 
This cell was the Barber's cell. He even had a chest of drawers. And a padded back rest. 
The Barber.
One of the older buildings. Stacked three high in here. 
Really old cell - no toilet iron beds.
Four high here. Can you imagine how hot it must get in summer on the top row. 
Building was heated with geothermal heat. A couple of radiators per building. Look at how fancy the radiator is. 
Just looking up.
The exercise yard and high wall. 
When they opened a newer building the barber got moved to a different cell. Even has a mirror. 
Some of the newer cells. The inmates got to do some decorating. Notice the padded head boards and the padding on the wall behind the toilet!
Some more decorating. Shelving on the wall and the toilet!
Some of the weapons confiscated.
This cell was really chic! Dark blue walls. A wood like covering on back wall. 
They even had forced air heating. And only two stacks high. 
Guards office.
Another shot of exercise yard.
This was a cell on Death Row. 


Witnesses got to watch the hanging through the window on the right. Looked right into the room with the trap door. 
The trap door. 
This building has not been taken care of. No roof. But still is elegant. Also the grounds are very pretty. The convicts would keep up the rose garden.


This used to be a mess hall. Now no ceiling or floor. 
This house was across the street from the penitentiary. So pretty!
Called The Bishop's House
Each of the men who served as the head of Episcopal Diocese of Idaho lived in this home with their families while serving in the capacity as the Episcopal Bishop of Idaho. The original house was built in the late 1880's and was remodeled to its current stately, towered Queen Anne style Victorian home in 1899.
Very interesting. Could spend a lot of time there. 


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