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Monday, January 12, 2015

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, Yuma, AZ

Sunday, Jan 11, 2015

This morning is supposed to be sunny with clouds and rain moving in for the afternoon.  We watched Charles Stanley from 7:30-8:30 am then our own NSBC service through the internet from 8:30-9:30am.  We took off immediately afterwards. 
 We arrived at the Yuma Territorial Prison about 10am.    There was a special event called "Gathering of the Gunfighters".
This is one of the guard towers.  It was built over the cistern that held the water for the prison.  This prison actually had running water, electricity and ventilation.  Most prisons of the era did not have these features.
These pretty flowers were just inside the entrance gate seen above.

This is a view of the Colorado River from the guard tower in the previous picture.
This is the view of where the special events are held.  You can see the chairs for the audience.  Also there are several people era appropriately dressed.  There are skits being held every 20 minutes.
This is the cast of the first skit we saw.  Notice the hair on the two girls in the foreground.  They were fully decked out.  There were lots of people not doing skits that were dressed for the era.
At this scene, the people are sitting face down because the skit has not started yet.  Notice the gun in the waistband of the woman standing at the table. Also notice the two women in the window.  :-)  Once the skit starts they ladies come in to talk to their husbands. The wives all ask each of their husbands for $1 to spend on medicine from the Medicine Man that just arrived in town.  All the husbands tell their wives NO and to go home and get to work on laundry, cooking etc.
In this scene you see all the men laying dead.  That is because the women got together and decided they had enough of being told what to do, so they killed their men.  One of the men was the sheriff.  Tic asked, "Who Shot the Sheriff?"
These are a couple people getting into the act.  There were even booths selling clothes, shoes, hats, jewelry and all kinds of accessories for dressing for the era.
This booth was selling ladies dresses and hats.
This group is having fun chit chatting.
Can you tell which person does not belong in this picture?  Ha Ha Ha
The preacher man was even on duty.  He told Tic that even the cowboys needed to hear the word.
Even the mission monk came to the event today.  His outfit seemed to fit his stature.
We saw this cowboy that had 3 guns with the 3rd holster on his back side.
                        Here he is mingling with the crowd.  You can see the gun on his left side and the back side.
We finally got him to stop and let us get a picture.  You can only see the gun on his right side in this picture.  I asked him if the gun in the back was common back in the day.  He said no it was not.  He also said that if they had a gun in the back that usually they did not have side guns.  But for today, because of the special event he decided to "gun" up.  

Now on to the prison museum area.  Wikipedia says the prison accepted its first inmate on July 1, 1876. For the next 33 years 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, served sentences there for crimes ranging from murder to polygamy.The prison was under continuous construction with labor provided by the prisoners. In 1909, the last prisoner left the Territorial Prison for the newly constructed Arizona State Prison Complex located in Florence, Arizona.
This was one hall.  The cells looked to be about 10' x 10' and were shared.
  I thought this information was interesting.
No, your eyes are not going bad.  This is a blurry picture.  Below is a picture of the iron bunkbeds.
There were 6 beds per cell.  Not much room to move around.
This is the exercise yard.  Also the cells you see across the top were added in early 1900s.  Originally the library was where the cells are now.  The library had a couple hundred books in it.  Apparently there was a lady fighting to educate the prisoners before their release.  Some served their full time. Some were paroled.  Some "released" early (it did not say paroled).  I'm not sure what released early meant.  It was also surprising at how many were pardoned. 

This morning was a beautifully sunny morning.  It was supposed to cloud up and rain in the afternoon, so when we left we went grocery shopping.  We got home, unloaded groceries and were having lunch when it started to rain.  It was a beautiful light rain.
After the rain passed there was a beautiful rainbow.  This picture does not show how brilliant it really was.  Beautiful ending to a wonderful day!


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