Old Idaho Penitentiary

Another stop we made on our Idaho road trip was to take a tour the old Idaho State Penitentiary.  The prison was in operation just over 100 years, opening in 1872 and shuttered in 1973.

During that time period, more than 13,000 inmates came in and out of those doors. At the time of its closure, it could house up 600 inmates. Out of those inmates, 215 of them were women, who had their own separate prison area on the same grounds. One of those women was Lyda Southard, who carried the nickname “Lady Bluebeard” for killing several of her husbands in order to collect their life insurance policies.

Ghost Adventures has visited the old pen to investigate any paranormal activity. According to their website, 10 executions were carried out here. But that doesn’t account for those that died from old age, disease or murder.

“In 1971 and again in 1973, riots broke out. Prisoners burned the chapel and dining hall to the ground and damaged many other buildings. The 1973 riot was the more severe of the two, and shortly thereafter prisoners were moved to a more modern penitentiary south of Boise. On December 3 of that year, the penitentiary was closed down. Not long after, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The buildings themselves, however, were left exactly as they were at the end of the 1973 riots. From the smoke and fire-blackened stone walls to the calendars still hanging on the cell walls, walking through the cell block is enough to give anyone a serious case of the creeps.” – Ghost Adventures



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