Tuesday, April 10, 2018


The Old Idaho State Penitentiary, here in Boise, is a really fascinating piece of history as well as a grim reminder of a time people were less tolerant of crime and had the will to actually punish offenders.

Started in 1870 as a territorial prison and enlarged over the years with a maximum population of a little over 600 inmates, it served its purpose for over 100 years. After several riots and fires it was finally shut down in 1973. 

The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 for its significance as a Territorial Prison. With its dramatic romanesque architecture I decided to use mostly wide angle as a lens choice to both capture exteriors of the large buildings and be able to show more of some small interiors.
f16.0 @ 1/160sec., ISO 400; Lens 15mm
I Wanted something really dramatic as a pano so I cropped one of the 180 degree images into a long skinny. The angry over cast sky added to the perfect mood topping one of the burned-out buildings. 

Next, is the dinning hall…

f11.0 @ 1/250 sec., ISO 500; Lens 15mm
It was designed in 1898 by inmate George Hamilton to provide natural light in the basement. He was paroled early for his exemplary efforts, but committed suicide the day after his release. The building was burned in the riot of 1973.

To the Cell blocks…

f10.0 @ 1/80 sec., ISO 800; Lens 15mm
I liked the color and the peeling paint in this cell house—not to mention its formidable cell doors. Cell House #4 (1952) was the largest  and most modern in this prison.

f5.6 @ 1/30 sec., ISO 800; Len 15mm
As in all prisons troublesome, violent, prisoners we put in solitary confinement…

f6.3 @ 1/40 sec., ISO 800; lens 15mm
They called this Siberia (1926). As you can see it has radiant heating, but it’s outside of the cells! This bleak building had dark, one-man, cells measuring 3’x8’…Siberia indeed!

But, they had clean clothes…

f5.6 @ 1/30 sec., ISO 800; Lens 15mm
The laundry building was impressive. It had 5 or 6 large, turn of the century, belt-driven, bulk washers.

The inmates built a wall around the original warden’s house to be used as the Women’s Ward (1905-1906).
Women's area
You can see the back corner of the women’s ward just beyond this cool looking gate. But, theirs was not a country club…
Women's cell
As you can see their cell doors were just as formidably built as the men’s. Their building had seven 2-person cells. 

I recommend a visit to this historical site to anyone visiting Boise, Idaho. I’ll bet a lot of residents here have not, but should, take the time to view this piece of their history!…Only took me 9 years…LOL

Just a little history and photography education too. ’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training Site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client Site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

No comments:

Post a Comment