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Old Idaho State Penitentiary facts for kids

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Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site
A facade of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.
Location 2200 Warm Springs Ave.
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
Area 510 acres (2.1 km2)
Built 1870–1872
Architect Inmates
Architectural style Romanesque
NRHP reference No. 74000729
Added to NRHP July 17, 1974

The Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site was a functional prison from 1872 to 1973 in the western United States, east of Boise, Idaho. The first building, also known as the Territorial Prison, was constructed in the Territory of Idaho in 1870; the territory was seven years old when the prison was built, a full two decades before statehood.

From its beginnings as a single cell house, the penitentiary grew to a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a 17-foot-high (5.2 m) sandstone wall. The stone was quarried from the nearby ridges by the resident convicts, who also assisted in later constructions.

The Old Idaho Penitentiary is operated by the Idaho State Historical Society; the elevation of the site is approximately 2,770 feet (845 m) above sea level.

Museum and Historical Society

The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 for its significance as a Territorial Prison. The site currently contains museums, an arboretum and is a facility managed by the Idaho State Historical Society.

In late 1999, J.C. Earl donated his personal collection of historic arms and military memorabilia to the state of Idaho. These items were placed on exhibition as the J.C. Earl Exhibit at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. They range from the Bronze Age to those used today for sport, law enforcement, and military purposes. The Luristan Bronze collection dates to about 1000-650 BC.

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