Old State Penitentiary


On July 29th, 2019, Skip, Paula (Skip's mom), and I made our way over to the Old State Penitentiary located at the bottom of Tables Rock in Boise, Idaho.


The Old State Penitentiary has a special place in my heart because of my love and support for Law Enforcement. Any time I have a friend or family member visiting the Boise area, this is where I take them. There is so much history, and the structures of the buildings are magnificent.

What I find astonishing about this establishment is that the facility was only shut down in 1973, less than 50 years ago. The city has preserved the buildings exactly how they were left after the riot in 1973 that ended with the Chapel and Dining hall burning down and damaging multiple other buildings. The riot was so severe, they had to close the facility and move the inmates to a different location that would later be the prison out in Kuna that is still in use today. The city has done an excellent job describing and showing the history of each of the buildings that you can enter and explore. Click HERE to read more about when the buildings were built.

The prison began as one cell unit in 1870, but shortly after, they began to add multiple other buildings made out of sandstone. Unfortunately, the sandstone does not hold the temperature. If it's hot outside, it's even hotter inside, and if it is cold outside, it is even colder within. Plus, there wasn't proper plumbing until the 1920s. This made the environment inhuman, and illness was an issue. By the time the prison was shut down due to the riot, it had housed 600 inmates at one time. A total of 13,000 inmates were booked in over the 100 years of its standing.

10 of the 11 executions in Idaho were done in the death row room at this facility. This is why this museum is famous; you get to explore the building that the executions took place.

If you are interested in visiting, click HERE for all the information to plan your trip.

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