Idaho May 20, 2019
This Tour Of An Abandoned Idaho Prison Is An Experience Unlike Any Other
Idaho is a state that’s incredibly rich with history, some of it as fascinating as it is dark. Learning about is a must for anybody with an interest in our state’s roots. In fact, this abandoned prison tour may just be an essential experience for any Idahoan, history enthusiast or not. Not only is there something wildly interesting about perusing the rooms of an old prison, but the prison has become an iconic piece of state history and it’s definitely worth getting to know. Travel back in time and learn about our state’s earliest criminals. This is tour is an experience unlike any other.
There are a handful of destinations in our state that have become iconic among both residents and travelers. These are the places that often make "Idaho Bucket Lists" and such, and the Old Idaho Penitentiary is one of them. If you have yet to visit it, you'll want to make sure you change that soon!
Originally opened in 1872, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is a fascinating look into our state's early days. Containing many of the West's most desperate criminals, a visit to the old prison is perfect for satisfying your morbid curiosity.
The penitentiary officially closed to inmates in 1973. Since then, it's turned into one of the most unique tourist attractions in the state. Open year-round, visitors can walk through the cell blocks, solitary confinement, the gallows, and so much more.
All in all, the site features 30 historic buildings and special exhibits. Guided tours are offered Saturday and Sunday at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30, but self-guided tours are always available during regular hours.
The penitentiary contains a plethora of fascinating exhibits that give you a real look at what prison life was like and what kind of characters did their time here. Entire exhibits are dedicated to subjects such as the Women's Ward, the history of prison tattooing, the interesting "hobbies" that many convicts passed the time with, and even confiscated weapons.
Over the 100 years it was open, the penitentiary housed all sorts of infamous criminals. Henry "Bob" Meeks was believed to be a member of Butch Cassidy's gang, Lyda Southard—from Twin Falls— was considered the country's first female serial killer, and Harry Orchard was convicted for the murder of Governor Frank Steunenberg (although he confessed to killing more than 17 people.)
If you're looking to make your visit extra memorable, be sure to stop by during the Old Pen's many special events. From paranormal investigations to overnight stays, the penitentiary is always hosting something unique. If you've ever wondered what a night in the slammer was like, this is your chance!
There's a reason the Old Idaho Penitentiary has become such a popular attraction in the Gem State. The prison represents a unique piece of Idaho history that continues to live on, and experiencing it is a must for any Idahoan. For more information, visit their official website
Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712
Have you checked off this abandoned prison tour from your bucket list yet? It’s a must for any Idahoan! Be sure to check out our list of
10 Unique Historical Places You Absolutely Must Visit In Idaho for more amazing places to learn about our state’s past.