Kids day out in Old Idaho Penitentiary TourTagged as outdoor, history
2445 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise ID 83712
About Old Idaho Penitentiary Tour
Idaho Territory was less than ten years old when the territorial prison was built east of Boise in 1870. The penitentiary grew from a single cellhouse into a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a high sandstone wall. Convicts quarried the stone from the nearby ridges and completed most of the later construction.
Over its century of operation, the penitentiary received more than 13,000 convicts, of whom 215 were women. Spurred in part by conditions that sparked a general riot in 1971 and an even more severe riot in 1973, the inmate population was moved to a modern penitentiary south of Boise and the Old Idaho Penitentiary was closed on December 3, 1973. After the Penitentiary closed in 1973, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Begin your visit with our video presentation recalling prison history, notorious inmates, and daily prison life. Once inside the Yard, imagine life in the foreboding sandstone cellhouses, see the contrasting beauty of the historic rose gardens, and view the effects of the 1973 riot. Visit Solitary Confinement, known as "Siberia," as well as Death Row and the Gallows. Exhibits are located throughout the site. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the day's weather.