220 N. Prison Hill Road
Yuma, AZ 85364
Adult admission $6 (age 14 and older), $3 kids ages 7-13, kids age 6 and younger free
1/2 price for active-duty military, plus spouse & children
Other pricing may apply during special events
Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily Oct.-May except Thanksgiving & Christmas.
Summer hours - CLOSED TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS June 1-Sept. 30; also closed Sept. 6-21 for major maintenance and repairs. Call to confirm.
Arizona's first territorial prison only operated for 33 years - but it etched a fearsome reputation in the lore of the Old West, a legacy that lives on in movies like "3:10 to Yuma." Since the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area assumed operation in March 2010, the park and museum have gotten a much-needed facelift.
Authorized in 1875 with a construction budget of $25,000, the prison opened in July of 1876 when the first seven prisoners were locked into cells they'd hacked out of the granite of Prison Hill with their own hands.
Over the next three decades, a total of 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, lived within the prison's walls - surrounded by waters of the Colorado and the Gila, with the fearsome desert beyond. Haunted? Perhaps ... no executions took place at the prison, but 111 persons died while serving time, and are buried on the grounds.
Despite its reputation, the prison was a model institution for its time -- and because it boasted electricity, running water and flush toilets, some Yumans even called it "the Country Club on the Colorado."
By 1907, the prison was severely overcrowded, and there was no room for expansion on Prison Hill. The last prisoner left Yuma September 15, 1909.