- Historic Sites
Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site
Built in 1870 of hand-cut sandstone and in use until 1973, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by prisoners, this fascinating Boise attraction offers one of the West's most informative prison tours. Visitors can walk through the historic rose gardens, cell houses, and the gallows. It housed more than 13,000 desperados whose stories are told in a video presentation and a self-guided tour within the former prison walls. Scheduled interpretive programs are offered in summer months. Within the walls of the Old Idaho Penitentiary is the J. Curtis Earl Arms Collection. This exhibit, featuring Bronze Age artifacts to modern automatic weapons, shares the story of arms and their relationship throughout history.