This location holds a special place in our hearts as it is one of the first places we investigated as a team. The location started serving as a prison on July 2 1871, even before Montana had become a state.
Warden Frank Conley (1890-1921) instituted extensive inmate labor projects including construction of the existing prison buildings and walls, as well as various state and community projects like road building, logging and ranching.
The Old Prison wall, built by convict labor in 1893, resembles a castle with its locally quarried granite walls and towers. The brick cellblock was constructed in 1912.
Historically plagued with overcrowding, insufficient funds and antiquated facilities, the prison erupted in violence in April 1959 during which Deputy Warden Ted Rothe was killed and 26 staff and inmates were taken hostage. After 36 terrifying hours, 200 National Guardsmen and Highway Patrol officers quelled the uprising that was the turning point in Montana corrections operations. Source
Listen in as we share our experiences investigating this amazing location.
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