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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yuma Territorial Prison


No, this is NOT the prison. IN-N-OUT is a chain of hamburger joints out of California. They are quite popular and are slowly expanding eastward. They have been in business a long time, since 1948. It is family owned and treat their workers well. They are very adequately staffed, and the people seem to LIKE to work there! I think their fries are the best. They essentially grew up with the drag racing scene that got established in southern California in the 50s and 60s to the present day. You will occasional see an IN-N-OUT sponsored car on the national drag racing circuits.


This is the prison, built on a bluff along the Colorado River. Conquistadors crossed the river here in the 1500s. The river is in flood.


This is the guard tower. I pushed the light so that you can the the interior of the structure. The tower covered the prison’s water supply.


A view looking northward across the river to another bluff. That steel bridge was built in the early 1900s. Before that, you had to use a ferry to get across. Remember, the Colorado was not dammed until the 1930s and later, so flooding expanded the river to 5-10 miles wide at times. So, the two bluffs were the most logical place to cross. What you see is the current administration building and parade ground. Other types of buildings occupied this area originally.


This is an active Catholic Church. Built a LONG time ago.


A view looking east of the Colorado and bottom land from the tower. During floods before the dams, this would be underwater. Yuma is beautifying the river front.


A view to the north.


Not a good picture, but this is the Sally Port into the prison. In the right  background you can see the elevated concrete supports for Interstate 8. The prisoners would be dumbfounded today.



The Sally Port. No, that is not Sally. A breakout occurred here in the late 1800s, with several prisoners being shot dead.


The prison had one of these.



Interesting inmates at Yuma Territorial Prison. Over 3000 called the Yuma prison home through its 33 year history, including 29 women. Actually, the prison was ahead of its time, with running water, electricity, and a hospital by the 1890s. People living around Yuma at the time thought it was a place of luxury.


If you managed to escape, this guys would be on your tail like tics.


Six people per cell. The cells run east/west…so I am sure the prisoners loved the southern exposure after being outside all day in 115F heat.


The cells were back to back on the southern block.


With beds.


There were about 200 deaths at the prison, most from diseases, namely tuberculosis.


If you were bad, you ended up here. Yes, she is a bad girl ;)


You were thrown in, chained to the floor with bread and water once a day. Nearly total darkness. You could be by yourself, or have lots of company. No restroom breaks either. The longest stay was over a 100 days. The man was a model prisoner after that. Most were in for several days. Women were sent in by themselves.


Yes, the prison had a library!


The southern bloc, all built by prison labor. More than one movie has had some filming done here, with numerous mentions in various westerns through the years. I was surprised at the number of prisoners incarcerated for selling liquor to Native Americans, adultery and polygamy. The world keeps on turning…

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