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Old Idaho Penitentiary

Article By: Sid Lezamiz
Published: Published: May 21, 2019 | Updated: Feb 20, 2024 at 11:05 am
Categories: General Audience

Old Idaho Penitentiary
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The Old Idaho Penitentiary opened its doors in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals. Today, visitors can experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows. The site features thirty historic buildings and special exhibits including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, a collection of historic weaponry. Events and programs provide families, school groups, and visitors an opportunity to relive the Old Pen’s exciting past of daring escapes, scandals and executions.[source]

With school vacation just around the corner, finding family summer activities that are fun and educational are plentiful in Idaho.

Under the umbrella of Idaho State Historical Society, a quirky idea is a family road trip to the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise.  Opened in 1872, the penitentiary housed some of Idaho’s and the West’s most notorious criminals for over 100 years.

With thirty buildings including cell blocks, Solitary Confinement and Gallows, it is a museum to explore, pretend and learn about history.

Exhibits include:

  • Faces of the Idaho State PenitentiaryNew exhibit featuring inmate faces from 50 states and 45 countries
  • WWI Idaho Forestry Soldiers
  • Crafty Cons- craft projects made by inmates
  • Marked Menthe history, method and meaning of tattooing
  • The Women’s Ward

Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day), Monday – Sunday, 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.