Old Idaho Penitentiary

The Old Idaho Penitentiary at Boise is a National Historic Site and one of four territorial prisons open in the U.S. The Old Penitentiary was built in 1870 and functioned has a prison until 1973. That's a lot of history, and like many historical sites, it is a documented paranormal hot spot, previously featured in several ghost hunting television programs.

I visited for the history, but kept my eyes and ears open for paranormal activity. The history was great, the ghosts were disappointing. There was not one sight or sound that I could blame, or credit, to the prison's ghosts. Maybe Halloween is a better time of year for that.

Outside the prison yard, in the shadow of the original prison wall you get a good look at the wooden walkway where armed guards once patrolled. This view is looking toward the entrance and administration buildings.

The cell blocks are as drab and depressing as you might imagine and are very similar to scenes from The Shawshank Redemption - minus the convicts.

The temperature was over 95 degrees outside and the ground level cell block was hot. Up on the second level, it felt like an oven.

There was no air conditioning when the prison was active and I can't imagine the misery of being locked up in this sweat box!

A prisoner would not have seen this sunset. I held the camera over a barrier across the barred window on the second level of a cell block.

There were 10 executions by hanging at the prison and some of these inmates have continued to lurk around the prison as ghosts.

Above is a wall from the former dining hall which was designed by inmate George Hamilton. The dining hall burned down in a 1973 riot.  

From the "inside" guard towers peer down into "the yard" from each corner of the stone wall surrounding the prison yard. The hill beyond this tower represented freedom to the prisoners who stood here.

My day at the Old Pen covered a lot of history, stories, and sights. So much, that a second post will be coming to cover material I have omitted here. If your interests include history or the paranormal, then get on the road, the Old Idaho Penitentiary at Boise makes a great destination.