Touring a historic site can be a boring experience, especially for children, but all it takes is conjuring up images of the old wild west to add some excitement to the venture. Touring the gold rush ghost towns, forts and old west museums certainly will provide insight into the past, which will greatly enhance the vacation experience. Oddly enough, some western museums feature a unique theme that can be found nowhere else on earth and the subject matter is guaranteed to capture the imagination. One such example is the Old Montana Prison in the town of Deer Lodge, which was only open to hardened criminals in the past.
Going to prison while on vacation may seem like a strange travel plan and trying to explain where you have been to friends back home may raise a few eyebrows. The opportunity to recount the prison vacation actually is a good reason to do some time at the Old Montana Prison, of course as a visitor and not as an inmate. The Montana Territorial Prison was constructed by inmates back in the early 1870s and the incarcerated occupied cells in this big complex till a century later in the 1970s. Fortunately the entire prison complex was preserved as a historic site and stepping through the iron gates without a one way ticket is now possible.
Because the Old Montana Prison was established before this territory became a state, prisoner rights were practically unheard of. Many forms of what are now considered to be cruel and unusual punishment are on display, including concrete shoes that weigh 20 pounds. Several famous old wild west outlaws did time in this old fashioned prison, which is equipped with classic sentinels that overlook the yard. Because the gold rush era brought all sorts of dubious characters to this territory, overcrowding was a constant problem and the facility was expanded several times through its long history.
As can be imagined, there are many horror stories about macabre occurrences inside the prison walls and paranormal tourism is taken seriously in this place. There are humorous stories too, which can all be experienced while doing the tour. The Old Montana Prison actually houses five unique museums, which include classic car and train exhibits. There is enough content behind the walls to keep the entire family entertained for hours and the insight gained into the early years of the Montana Territory is priceless. Going to prison while on vacation can be a good thing, so be sure to check it out!
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