The Squirrel Cage Jail

Mary Connealy Header

I went on a field trip with a group of writers from my area to a historically interesting jail. 

 And (whew!) they let me go.

The Squirrel Cage

Pay close attention and read this blog post carefully to find the clues you’ll need to get your name in the drawing for a copy of my May Release, WILDFLOWER BRIDE.

Council Bluffs, Iowa is the location of the Pottawattamie County “Squirrel Cage” Jail, in use from 1885 until 1969, one of three Squirrel Cageremaining examples of a Rotary Jail. It has pie-shaped cells on a turntable. To access individual cells, the jailer turned a crank to rotate the cylinder until the desired cell lined up with a fixed opening on each floor. 

It takes 5 min to rotate the whole cage one revolution. There is only one opening out of the cage so the prisoners can only come out one (or one cell-full) at a time at each of 3 levels. They put up to 6 people in an area no larger than a small walk in closet.
It is a very dark place to visit.

The Squirrel Cage Jail was the only three-story rotary jail constructed. Although the rotary mechanism was disabled in 1960 the building remained the county jail for another nine years. Similar, smaller examples of the concept can be seen in Crawfordsville, Indiana and Gallatin, Missouri.

The Squirrel Cage welcomed its first prisoners on September 11, 1885. When it closed in 1969, murderers, moonshiners, the King of the Hobos, burglars, horse and car thieves, con-men, and even an infant, had called the odd structure home.  The building, with its three stories of tiny pie shaped cells in a 90,000 pound revolving cage, is interesting in itself.  But it is the people who lived there that make it a truly fascinating.  Many of them spent their time trying to escape and some of them were even successful.  

Here is stage one of what it takes to get in the drawing. As you read, think back to the time you spent in jail. The questions will concern that.

The design and size of the Historic Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail make it a one-of-a-kind structure.  It was one of 18 revolving jails built.

Here (above) are some unsavory characters who were in lock down while I was there at the squirrel cage. Or no, wait, I’m wrong about that. This is a picture of the ladies who went with me. L-R Writer friends, Lorna Seilstad, Rose Zediker, Shari Barr and Dawn Ford.

Here is a model of the Squirrel Cage. The design included this declaration. “The object of our invention is to produce a jail in which prisoners can be controlled without the necessity of personal contact between them and the jailer.”  It was to provide “maximum security with minimum jailer attention.” 

This is Lorna Seilstad, author of the soon to be released historical romance Making Waves. Lorna is demonstrating how to work the crank that turned the entire three story jail. One person could do it alone. As it says above, maximum security with minimum jailer attention. 

This is a picture of the ‘bathroom facilities’ in each cell. They sometimes had up to SIX prisoners in one cell? It might be for the best to not think about it much.I jumped and squeaked when I saw that guy. Really look at the picture above. Two bunks. So you know it was meant for two at least.  Ten wedge shaped cells on each of three floors. Thirty cells. Up to six prisoners per cell. Do the math people. 180 prisoner capacity. And one jailer for all of them.

There was a book full of the prisoners and what they were in for. Look at some of them. Assault, sure. Desertion and non-support? Of a wife and children? Did they do that back then? Seduction? Excuse me? I’ll bet if he’d done it RIGHT she’d’ve never reported him. And what in the world is VNPA? If I’m reading it right and OWNI? I saw one, a guy got six months for bigamy. And then (I surmise) he got out and had to face his two wives. He probably begged for a life sentence.

 Though the jail has been closed for 40 years, many believe there are ‘goings on’ at the jail that are other than mortal. The Squirrel Cage, it is said, is haunted. Bill Foster, who worked as the jailer in 1950’s, opted not to use the fourth floor as his apartment. He reported hearing people walking around on a floor that had nobody on it, a sensation sufficiently concerning to motivate him to bunk on the second level prisoner floor instead.

The spirit may actually date back to the jail’s origin. A former jail tour guide claimed she believed the ghost to be that of J.M. Carter, the man who oversaw the building’s construction. Mr. Carter was the first resident of the top floor apartment and, according to her theory, has never left.

There have also been reports of an apparition on the fourth floor identified as Otto Gufath, also a former jailer. Museum staff add whatever spirit is present, it is friendly; despite an occasional door that opens by itself, strange lights, or peculiar noises, no one has ever felt frightened or in any danger.

There has been some evidence of a female spirit as well. A few years ago a woman working on a project in the building after hours had been experiencing peculiar sensations. She walked through the building and was shocked to see a little girl with a very mournful expression dressed entirely in gray… inside a cell whose bars were locked with no way in or out. Occasionally, visitors have reported feeling that something was tugging at them, reported a great feeling of sadness in some of the cells, or simply felt that there was a presence there beyond those visible.

The feelings of being watched or followed have been most frequently noted on the third and fourth floors.

And could this be complete without the picture of me in lock-up? But I’m smiling? I needed a director to discuss my motivation for this scene. And note I’ve removed my glasses. Like….maybe….I wanted to look my best through the bars? I think the bars overcome any attempt at vanity, but I didn’t see it that way when I was whipping off my glasses and smiling for the camera.

Cheryl St. John just phoned me and told me she’d NEVER been in jail. Whatever. She said MOST people have never been in jail. Really? How odd. Then she asked me what made ME THINK most people have been in jail. I hung up on her.

Squirrel Cage sign

Only four deaths are known to have occurred in the Squirrel Cage Jail. One prisoner died of a heart attack, one in a three-story fall when trying to carve his name on the ceiling, and one prisoner hanged himself in his cell. The fourth death followed an accident in which an officer shot himself in the confusion of fortifying the facility from an angry mob threatening to storm the jail during the Farmer’s Holiday Strike of 1932.

If the deaths aren’t enough to justify a haunting, some point to the fact that the building is on the site of the old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church morgue. Excuse me? Church Morgue? Did churches have morgues? This is news to me and may spark another blog post. Additionally, though actual prisoner deaths were few, the cold, damp, dark, tiny pie-shaped cells were likely a very depressing place to spend time. That in itself may be worthy of a ghost or two. I asked the very nice tour guide if he thought the place was haunted and he said, “You know, I don’t believe in ghosts really, but there have been some weird things happen in here. I still don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m a little less SURE than I was before I started working here.” (Note, this is NOT an exact quote. I have this tendency to, when I can’t remember exactly what someone said, to fill in the blanks with what I think they said, or … the internal editor in me instead says what I WISH they’d said, or what they SHOULD have said. Some call this…lying.)

Squirrel Cage buildingOne particularly intense incident occurred in 1894. Police arrested a man accused of raping a 5-year-old. Once locked up in the City jail, however, a crowd began to form and it was clear that trouble was brewing. Fearing a lynch mob, police hustled the suspect into the Patrol Wagon and rushed him via back streets to the more secure Squirrel Cage jail. The news leaked, however, and a lynch mob numbering in the thousands began to gather outside the Squirrel Cage jail. The Sheriff addressed the crowd, ordering them to disperse. Inside the jail, armed deputies and police officers prepared to defend the jail to the death. News of an even larger lynch mob approaching from the South prompted the Sheriff to summon even more help from the Dodge Light Guards; 29 of them, armed with Winchester rifles, were soon stationed at the jail. By 1:00 am the crowd was dispersed and later that morning the prisoner was moved to Fort Madison penitentiary for his safety.

There is a book called Tales from the Squirrel Cage Jail if you want to know more. There is mention of a child being born in the jail. I asked the tour guide about it. It was a child born to the jailer’s wife. Several of the jailers lived there with their wives and children. The wives cooked for the prisoners and hers was a paid position. It was actually a very good, well paying job for a family, plus they lived there so the home was provided. Not the worlds NICEST home, granted. And I think it’s fair to say some of the  other….tenents…weren’t of the highest calibre. But they apparently had quite a few jailers who lived there for many years. 

I now have changed my rules for the game. Since there aren’t enough jail birds among the loyal readers of Petticoats & Pistols(so, Cheryl says…I scoff, but whatever), just leave a comment about an interesting historical sight you’ve been to. Or you could guess what V.N.P.A is? We amused ourselves for quite a while on the tour, guessing. And Dawn really oughta be ashamed of herself for some of those guesses! (Unless you WANT to tell me about your time in stir–hey, you’re among friends–we won’t repeat it) Or you could tell me about your ‘Friend’ who did some hard time. We’ll play along. If you want to go ahead with your denial, just forget that whole unfortunate JAIL THING. It means NOTHING. When  I said that about everyone being in jail I was just KIDDING. I’ve NEVER been in jail, nor known anyone who has. Such a rude question. Stop it. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing. I won’t judge you for your ex-convict status. I can’t promise about OTHERS who will not be named. Oops, the phone is ringing again. I have to hide now.

MARY CONNEALY

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules
Updated: April 25, 2010 — 7:44 pm

62 Comments

  1. Mary, this is fabulous info, and you’ve got me giggling as usual. I never imagined such a jail existed. Hard to imagine one person would rotate that sucker!

    A couple of historical places I loved are the North Bridge in Concord MA where the shot heard round the world was fired in 1775. And I recently climbed to the top of California’s tallest lighthouse, 115 feet! (If anybody recalls my fear of down escalators during Filly Trivia, mmmmm, the circular descent was fairly gnarly although at least I could control my speed. And had my hubby in front of me. There was plenty cold sweat involved.)

    Next week I’m going to the Alamo in Texas! Yee-haw.

    Thanks, Mary! oxox

  2. My husband was a cop and a deputy so I’ve seen the inside of the Parish jail and prison.

    He loved to visit the local law enforcement offices wherever we traveled.

    Interesting post, Mary.

    Please enter me into your drawing.
    Thanks!
    PamT

  3. As far as historical jail visits go, it is the stocks at Williamsburg, Va, both the ones in the center of town and at the jail. It freaked me out as a kid to think about the jailer’s family living right next to the jail cells.

    Thanks for the info and morning chuckles. Julie

  4. Mary,
    Did those bars make me look fat? Anyway, I think it was a ghost who whispered to you what VNPA was. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    I have to say, this was quite interesting…and a bit on the creepy side. Solitary confinement would make you think twice about going. Talk about closet space. It was a coffin in the wall. Yikes! And it was only 80 yrs ago that you’d get 3 days for adultery. How crazy is that?

    BTW, I happened to mention you in my blog today. 🙂
    Dawn

  5. This blog gets weirder and weirder by the day! What next? No, don’t tell me!

  6. Weird? Lyn? Excuse me? Is it MY FAULT they built a jail reminiscent of a sort of twisted merry-go-round?
    And Dawn, I don’t think the bars make you look fat.

    Guilty maybe, but not fat.

    That solitary confinement cell was awful. A coffin standing upright is a fantastic way to describe it. It was…I seriously think…two feet by two feet. Solid iron, too. No bars, except maybe in the door. Did the door have bars? I think it was solid but I’m trying to remember. What a nightmare. Man, I’d behave.

  7. Hi Mary,

    Fascinating trip. I never knew there was such a jail.

    I recently went to an late 1890’s plantation in Rose Bud, Arkansas with writer friends. Old newspapers on the walls and slave quarters. It’s restored into a B&B in my book.

    I was in jail, until I was fifteen and I met Jesus. He set me free!

  8. Great post!! Between you and Lorna, I feel like I’ve BEEN THERE already (to the Squirrel Cage Jail, not stir . . . )! And Dawn, don’t vertical stripes ALWAYS make you look THINNER? That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it . . . And the restroom facilities? It looks like one of those “niches” for a piece of art or something! Ick.

    Please enter me in the drawing! I finally got my hands on “The Husband Tree,” and am in the process of devouring it as soon as I get off this silly computer . . .

    Regina

  9. And three days for adultery? I’m not entirely opposed to going back to that.

    And I’d toss people in there for a few other things too. I get to decide, too.

  10. I have a picture of Dawn….um….let’s say…demonstrating the facilities. Fully clothed of course. Or no, wait, that might be Rose.

    I didn’t use it for reasons of human decency.

    Also reasons of space.

  11. The STOCKS!!!??? Man, those were the days, huh? I suspect jail is still a sucky place to be. But it’s lost all it’s public humiliation edginess.

  12. Amazing, Mary. Just the thought of being in there makes me claustrophobic. And what a history. Thanks for a wonderful blog.

  13. Hey Mary,

    Loved spending time in the “big house” with you and the rest of the I.N. Group. It’s still hard to imagine 180 people in those cells. Definitely a deterrant to crime.

    I thought it was funny how our tour guide couldn’t believe the fire marshall had a problem with it in the 60’s. Great concept, but safe? On the other hand, did you see anything that could have caught on fire in there? That enormous recreation area? (One picnic table with a checker board on it.)

    And you quoted the tour guide quite accurately about his “ghost” answer. I had no idea people actually stayed there on the weekends hoping for a ghostly glimpse. Crazy.

    Lorna

  14. Darn, I thought the photo of me in the cubby hole didn’t turn out. I’m 5’2″ and I barely fit. And Lorna dared me. It’s all her fault.

  15. I can really see using this as a setting in a book. It was built in 1885 and there were eighteen of them so why not? Fictionalize it maybe. All that heavy iron.

  16. Wow, that was really interesting! I’ve been to a lot of historical places, but I can’t say I’ve been to many jails (other than the ones at forts and such things). Please enter me in the drawing!

  17. It is all Lorna’s fault. In fact we kinda adopted that as our stand-by answer to everything.

    LORNA DID IT!!!!!!!!!

    The picnic table was the recreation area. All carved up and graphitti’ed up. Let this be a lesson to all of us the next time we paint over vandalism. It could be the focal point of the museum of tomorrow.

    I also read more about Jake Bird, a man who stayed in the Squirrel Cage, we released and went on to be a serial killer. Sick, sick, sick.

  18. Elizabeth you should have seen that solitary confinement cell. So awful. Terrible, I know I am sort of a joker (in case you haven’t noticed) but that was a terrible place.

  19. This would be a great place to visit. I however have never been in jail, thank goodness. I do however believe that pretty much everyone has done something in their day to deserve being put in jail. lol

    BTW, I can not wait to read Wildflower Bride.

  20. Hmm, the time I spent in jail. I was working at a girl scout camp 🙂 and we had an evening off. So drove to the nearest small town. Needed ‘facilities’ but the ones in the public park were, uh, backed up. And since this was a number of years ago, most every place closed at six. Even the gas station! So, we tried the police station.

    The officer just laughed at the bunch of high school girls and let us use the cell.

    Caused quite a stir when we got back to camp and said we had to spend part of the evening in jail.

  21. How fun! I loved this! And, no, I have never been in jail. LOL. My parents were history buffs and we used to always hit all the historical sites when we vacationed. I grew up in Missouri and we often went to Hannibal and visited all the Mark Twain sites. The cave was always my favorite.

  22. Ah, Tammy girl, now THAT is an interesting point. Whether we DESERVE to be in jail. I think we’d all just better move along people. Not pursue this particular idea.

  23. *lizzie, I remember the days when everything closed at six. Those were the good old days weren’t they? People had to go HOME!!!

    And a lovely jail story. I get a little weepy just reading it. Poignent, fast paced, I really cared about your characters….oh, wait, forget that, I’ve been judging a writing contest and kinda forgot where I was for a while there.

  24. Michelle V, you mean like the cave where Tom and Becky hid and Injun Joe (forgive the incorrectness) died? You think you’ve been in there???
    Eerie.
    There’s a cave in … I think it’s near Brownsville, NE called Robbers Cave that we went to once as children that I just loved.

  25. OK, I admit it. I’ve been in jail. As a grad student, I did a counseling practicum at a state penn where I worked with inmates. Thankfully, they were all on their best behavior since it was in their best interest to be cooperative.

    But this VNPA charge intrigues me. Hmmm…

    Voluntary Need for Political Asylum – perhaps the mayor checked himself in when the town turned against him after that fireworks debacle that burned down Esther Sue’s barn.

    or

    Victimization of Non-Predatory Animals – Farmer John got fed up with the neighbor boys who kept sneaking onto his property and shaving their initials into the hide of his best milk cow and had the miscreants thrown into the hoosegow.

    What do you think?

  26. Hi Mary,
    Well you’ve upset me now! Finally, just when I think I have a pretty good shot at winning one of your books, you go and change the rules on me.
    True, I only spent hours in the interrogation room for driving the get away car and I never actually made it back to the cells, and they let me go after I gave the cop his billy club back, but I think that should count, don’t you?
    Well, please enter me in the drawing anyway. And, Mary, I thought you all looked great behind bars.

  27. Everyone knows a VNPA is a Voluptuous Neophyte Pushing Alcohol.

    I kind of like the fact that you were locked up Mare, how did you manage to get out. My most favorite place or places to check into the past. Were the seven churches of Turkey. And Traveling Europe, the castles were cool. One, we went to every year, had a real cool dungeon and torture chamber, with a hot oil dump.

    Stateside, I try to stop at the forts, and civil war prisons., Went to Andersonville, it wasn’t so much the little museum there that got my attention, but the fact that people truly believe the souls of the prisoners haunt the place. I’m not a believer in ghosts and such but, strangely, just thinking about all the autrocities that went on there you could almost feel them. I also went to a Civil war Naval Museum in South Carolina. Kind of cool. There are a lot of places left to visit of course, like I want to see the Hunley the Civil War sub that was raised a few years back.

  28. Mary, yep, the cave Mark Twain wrote about is in Hannibal, MO, where he spent his boyhood. You can take tours through parts of the cave. It’s cool!

  29. Wow Mary, what a fascinating post. And to think they built this thing in the nineteenth century…

  30. voyeur no personal assault
    i goodsearched it and came up with nothing so i imagine my guess is correct 🙂

    seduction…that gets you time?
    my my

    that place sounds scary–and like another poster i could only think of the inability to get people out in a fire–the 5yr old rapist could burn in h*%% but the seductor shouldn’t have to die in flames
    and what happens as the opening goes by other cells? aren’t they trying to leap outta there?
    and 1 person?
    scary!
    i would not be the wife to cook for them
    ghosts…mary–you’ll give me nightmares–seriously–thankfully i read this in the morning and can work on blocking the whole ghost part from my memory all day

    loved the post–you make me laugh–you are such a very funny girl!

    no time in jail for me–unless you count the field trip i took in 5th grade–i think the plan backfired though because the inmates had cable (something most of us didn’t have) and homecooked yummy meals with awesome brownies…we all wanted to stay

    i’m an iowan myself–the other side of the state though…i’ll stear clear of squirrel land –but good to know the information–i would have had a heart attack waiting to see that girl
    -shudder-
    i haven’t seen a whole lot in this world yet…but locally i enjoyed effigy mounds–a beautiful indian burial site

  31. Hi Mary, what a cute post as usual! I have never been in jail but my brother went one time when he was young for being drunk in a public place. He pulled into an old rock quary that had been closed for years about half mile from home to use the bathroom and they got him for being drunk in a public place, i still laugh about this being a public place. I was raised in a historical site call High Bridge KY. It had the highest railroad bridge in the world. It was built in the mid 1800’s

  32. Lorna and I came to the conclusion the VNPA stood for Very Naughty Public Affection.

  33. Very Nude Prancing Around??????

  34. DAwn started all her VNPA guesses with Very Naughty. LOL

    And Judy, don’t you feel better now that you’ve come clean.

    And good call with the billy club. 🙂

  35. Which reminds me of a field trip to jail…what were the teachers doing exactly when the planned these field trips? Trying to scare us straight?

    We went to the state penitentury and my only memory of it (which supports my theory that interesting experiences are wasted on the young, I was in my teens and I rememeber NOTHING of this) But on the bus ride home, our teacher, let’s call him Mr. Bleeding Heart, told us of a prisoner he’d spoken with who had gone to jail, the state pen, mind you, for writing a bad check. One bad check. And now he’s bitter against the world and Mr. BH was terribly afraid he’d reoffend and it was all ‘society’s’ fault.

    Even then we were ahead of the teacher. I remember asking him if he thought it was barely possible that a guy in prison might possible…gulp…be a…a…a (dreadful thought) LIAR.

  36. My daughter actually worked in jail for a while.
    A detox center. Or as it is more affectionately known, the Drunk Tank.

    Her job was mainly checking people in, handing out sandwiches, phoning for rides and…unfortunately…hosing out unpleasantly … searching for the right word here… soiled? … cells.

  37. Villain Nearby Park Assemblies.

    Vandalism, Nepotism, Plaguerism Assault.
    (that’s if your relative copies your book, rewrites it was swear words, tries to sell it as her own and you beat her up–happens allllll the time)

    VNPA Verdict Nullified Per Adjudication (that’s if you try and skip parole and they haul you in)

    VNPA Victim Not Presently Awake (you knocked someone out and they’re holding you until they come around and can press charges)

  38. VNPA:
    — a Swede would say ‘Vould Not Publicly Announce’ what he was in for

    — Very Near Pleading Adultery/Association

  39. My dad was a cop for 28 years… so I was around the police station a bit… never actually went into a jail cell though…

  40. I’ve visited a few Civil War battlegrounds in Arkansas and Missouri, also Will Rogers museum in Oklahoma. Never been in jail though, hope I never am.

  41. A swedish neighborhood…you could be on to something.

    And Colleen, I’ve heard about scofflaw cop’s kids.

    I sat through a…I don’t really know where it came from but…someone reading about the Battle of Gettysburg yesterday, on the radio. Riveting. I was driving and I actually pulled over (I was a bit late for dinner) to listen to more of it. What a terrible thing…war. Madness. Why can’t we figure out a better way to live on this planet?

  42. Oh my goodness! Funny as usual, Mary. Also very interesting.

    Hmmmm…. VNPA … My guess would be

    “Violation of not petting animals” for those visiting the petting zoo (did they have a petting zoo then?) Or

    “Vagrants Not Permitted Area” for those who were loitering in town without a job.

    It would be interesting to know, if someone ever finds out! 🙂

    Enter me in the drawing please! I would like to win your book.

    walkinfaith4him(at)yahoo(dot)com

  43. Hmmm…could VNPA stand for “Very Near Pleading Anonymity”? 😉

    I was behind bars in a picture taken at Disneyland, but I think that was supposed to be a dog pound…

    Please enter me for a chance to win Wildflower Bride! I’m very excited about this book!

    ~Amber

    stokes[dot]a[at]suddenlink[dot]net

  44. No, the bars don’t make you look fat. Vertical bars have a very slimming affect. (I still think I could have snuck onto the 4th floor and checked the whole place out, but I have this shy, good-girl image I have to uphold. Flimsy excuse, I know.)

    I think I did go to jail once with my hubby and kids in Paul Bunyon Land in Brainard, MN. Ahh, family vacations.

    I would love to win your book, Mary! Thanks.

  45. As usual Mary, your posts bring to light things I would never have thought about. And you look beautiful, even despite the fact that you’re standing behind bars. 🙂

  46. I got to visit our local jail with the girl scouts – not too exciting lol. Visiting The Citadel in Haiti was exciting though. The Fort is on top of a mountain and we had to get there by horse (a whole ‘nother story lol). The men’s bathroom was peeing off the side of the mountain lol.

  47. VAIN NAIAD PRACTICING ADULTERATION, That’s my guess!

    A couple of my favorite historic sites:
    1. San Jacinto Battleground State Park which includes the Battleground, Museum, SJ Monument(the
    world’s tallest monument), and the Battleship Texas. (The battleground is one of the spookiest sites, especially after dark!) Visitors can go up in an elevator to the top of the monument where you can see forever! It has been in a major remodeling state but will reopen soon.
    2. The Alamo in San Antonio, we took the children
    there when they were small, but couldn’t stay in
    the Mission for very long because I began to
    experience sounds not heard by anyone else. We
    left very quickly!

    Pat Cochran

  48. Wow, Pat. Spooky. Cool. Do you really think they were ghosts?

  49. And as for Shari. Well, all I can say is, she came within an EYELASH of getting us all tossed out of there.

    Such a scofflaw.

  50. ALL RIGHT!!!!!!! Karen Kay thinks I did the right thing by taking off my glasses.

    I happen to know for a FACT that when I remove my glasses before a picture, I look twenty pounds lighter and ten years younger.

    Let me live with my fantasies okay people???!!!

  51. I forgot to mention that my sister works for The Federal Bureau of Prisons, so she is a jail bird every day! I have been by this place but have never been inside! Not sure I want to.

  52. My daughter works for a bank and once lent a state money to build a prison. So, that’s kinda the same thing, Quilt Lady. 🙂

  53. Enjoyed reading the comments.
    To get the true flavor of the old-time prisons one needs to visit the old territorial prison in Yuma, AZ during the month of August. It is really hot then and one can imagine the heat stress those prisoners suffered. They were put in sweat boxes in the heat often with dire results. Very few survived. It still looks the same as it did. A very interesting place to visit.

  54. Funny you should mention YUMA, Joye, here is my post on Yuma from a few years back.
    Burn in Yuma

  55. Great post, Mary…just the way I remembered it, especially your parphrasing of the “ghost answer”.

    The last historic place I’ve been to besides the Squirrel Cage Jail was the Alamo.

  56. Avatar

    Great post with a sense of humor as usual. I’ve just spent the last half hour trying to find the acronyms V N P A and O W N I. No luck.
    Never been to jail and stayed. when I was in high school, our choir
    went to the jail after a concert and sang carols. Made us all kind of sad.
    Quite a few of my family members have been or are in Dannemora State Prison (now Clinton Correctional Facility, more politically correct) – as guards. I have two brother, cousins, nephews, and several uncles who have worked there. It is the largest maximum security prison in the state and the third oldest prison. It was built in 1845 and as far as I know there has never been an escape. It houses Son of Sam and has housed many other famous (Tupac Shakur) and infamous (Robert Chambers, the Preppie Killer) criminals.
    I toured it when I was in high school just after a major renovation. The old part is really interesting. The new part very sterile, intimidating, and huge. It has an interesting history, but not a western one. There is a warden’s house and a farm on the grounds, all surrounded by miles of massive walls.

  57. Rose came to see us. YAY! Hi, Rose. We had fun, didn’t we? 🙂

    Patricia, you really spend a HALF HOUR searching?

    Why do I feel the need to apologize for that? 🙂

    You had me a little nervous there for a minute with the ‘quite a few family members’ line. I thought we’d tapped into a serious crime spree. But nope. All on the RIGHT side of the bars. Phew.

  58. Nice post. Love the pictures
    We visited a museum once and they had a patty wagon you could put guest in and take pictures. Hubby and daughters got in mom took picture. Too bad I couldn’t leave them in there. :)))))) (BIG GRIN)

  59. Wait, they put Clara May and Lloyd in jail for adultery–TOGETHER? What is wrong with this picture, people?

  60. Very Naughty People Anyway
    Versatile Nose Picking Application
    Veggie Named Pointed Apple
    Vertical Numeral Placement Aside

  61. p.s. I liked Cow Town in Wichita

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