Thursday, December 4, 2014 (Country Roads RV Village, Yuma, AZ)

Today we thought we would do a little sightseeing, so just before 10:30 we headed off to Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. Alan and Cec joined us.

The park offers a museum with exhibits, a gift shop, video presentation, picnic area, and restrooms. After paying our $6 each admission, a park host took us out, gave us a small orientation and a map, and we were on our own to explore. These plaques give a timeline of the prison's history. On July 1, 1876, the first seven inmates entered the Territorial Prison at Yuma and were locked into the new cells they had built themselves.

This building, now a museum, houses photographs and colorful exhibits of those who once "involuntarily" stayed there and the prison life they had to endure. A total of 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, lived within the walls during the prison's 33 years of operation.

The sign reads "I didn't do it!"

After going through the museum and watching the video presentation, we went outside to see the cell blocks.

One of the earliest electrical generating plants in the West furnished power for lights and ran a ventilation system in the cellblock.

Despite an infamous reputation, written evidence indicates that the prison was humanely administered, and was a model institution for its time. The only punishments were the dark cells for inmates who broke prison regulations, and the ball and chain for those who tried to escape. 

There goes Alan into the yard...

Schooling was available for convicts, and many learned to read and write in prison. The prison housed one of the first "public" libraries in the territory.

The Guard Tower....

After we were finished inside the prison, we took a walk over to the prison cemetery...

Next on the agenda...Historic Downtown Yuma.
We parked our vehicles and wandered along the main street...

We continued down to the river and Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza. The outdoor exhibit area opened in the exact site where the first railroad train entered Arizona in 1877. A 1907 Baldwin steam locomotive sits on the original track alignment.

"After dark, two laser beams trace the rails' path across the river, while a cascading water feature at the plaza's edge recalls the long-ago bankline" (this only operates during the winter months)

Prison Guard Tower in the distance...

On our way back through the downtown area, we stopped for lunch at Lutes Casino..."Folks have been strolling to Lutes Casino since the 1920s. Though this Yuma original is called a casino, there isn't (officially) any gambling at Arizona's oldest pool hall, known for its eclectic decor and fun menu."

Christmas tunes...
One final picture as we wander back to the truck after lunch...

On our way home, we stopped at Fry's so I could pick up a couple things...Steve also wanted to fill up our gas containers in prep for Blythe and Quartzsite.

It was going on 3:30 by the time we got home. Other than a bike ride around part of the RV park, we just chilled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We received a Skype call from Rob, Angie and Conner at about 8:00...and had a wonderful chat with them. Conner even wished Gramma "Happy Birthday"...oh my, he is so cute! We miss him terribly! All I can say is thank goodness for the technology that allows us to travel and "see" our family back home!

1 comment:

  1. We attended a Rally a few years back in Yuma. But being on a tight schedule we didn't get to really visit. Gotta learn to slow down and see more. Thanks for the reminder.