Friday, January 16, 2009

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, Yuma, Arizona

Today we visited the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park near the old downtown Yuma. This was the prison in this territory from 1876 to 1909. In its lifetime Yuma Territorial Prison held over 3000 prisoners including 39 women. The only original buildings and structures that are left are the guard tower, on your left as you first walk in, and some of the stone cells blocks. The guard tower was built on top the original stone water tank and provides views of the Colorado River basin and part of the prison grounds. Through the original sallyport (the large iron gates through which prisoners arrived) you will come to the site museum. This building has been reconstructed using adobe bricks so it matches the surrounding structures. This museum is small, but offers many exhibits containing photos of some of the more notorious prisoners as well as insights into prison life at the time. We also found some historic exhibits that had nothing to do with the prison, which was disappointing. Behind the museum are the remaining stone cells blocks that you can walk around and explore. There are a couple cells that you can go into to get a feel for how living with twelve other inmates in a tiny room with little air flow and no bathroom. All and all we were disappointed with experience. We were expecting to see more of the original buildings. They also allow smoking on the grounds which took away from our experience. If you are really interested in this kind of history, then this might be a place for you. If not, I would suggest using the $4 per person entrance fee for something else.

1 comment:

Jerry and Suzy said...

That's the nice thing -- we are free to each have our own opinion! When we toured that old prison, we enjoyed the experience. Ain't it grand to disagree without having to be disagreeable about it!!!!

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