We left Missoula around 11 this morning and went straight for the 4th quilt store in Missoula. One we missed yesterday. We then headed for prison (the old state prison at Deer Lodge). Deer Lodge is Montana's second oldest city; established in 1862. Deer Lodge has one quilt store that we 'just had to visit,' prior to going to prison.
I know most of you are anxious to find out where we've been and what we've been up to. I just want to say that originally this was my longest page and just as I was about to save it -- poof! it was gone. It's taken me awhile to attempt this again. So, far this has been a great trip and Rosalea and I a both wishing we'd allowed more time. We have seen a lot but there is so much we've had to bypass.
The Old Montana prison was established in 1871 in attempt to tame the West. It was used
as an active prison until 1979. For the most part the prison operated as a humane facility, with the focus on rehabilitation, with the exception of 'problem' inmates, who were obliged to spend time in the "hole." The convicts had the benefit of a library, continued education, job placement, job training, hospital,a gym, recreation field, a baseball team, and a theater. Of course not all at the beginning but over time. The convicts were kept busy by building much of the prison and it's various structures. The 'problem' convicts have a different story. The 'problem' convicts would spend time in the "Hole." The hole is a small concrete space about 5 feet by 6 feet with a concrete slab for a bed. The only light is through a 3 inch peep hole and that is covered by a thick layer of wire. The outside lights are only on during the serving of the meals. The rest of the time it is pitch dark. The convict receives only bread and water for 6 days, on the 7th day they get a hot meal. After 10 days the prisoner is taken out of the hole and examined by the prison doctor, if the prisoner is deemed healthy enough he is put back in the hole. You'll be happy to know that in the late 60's this type of incarceration was considered excessive and the practice discontinued.
In the same area as the prison are several other museums. We did take time to visit as many as we could until they closed.
Among the museums we visited was "Yesterday's Playthings," where they had a huge collection of Raggedy Ann's and Andy's with the real story behind Raggedy Ann. It also included a large collection of other dolls, toy cars and trains.
The 'Western Heritage' museum and a scaled down reconstructed western town called "Cottenwood." We were also able to visit the "Automobile" Museum.