Yuma Territorial Prison

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Yuma Territorial Prison
Yuma3-13-04 (16).jpg
Main Gate to the Yuma Territorial Prison.
General information
Location Yuma, Arizona, United States
Coordinates 32°43′37″N 114°36′54″W / 32.72694°N 114.61500°W / 32.72694; -114.61500Coordinates: 32°43′37″N 114°36′54″W / 32.72694°N 114.61500°W / 32.72694; -114.61500
Opened 1876[1]

The Yuma Territorial Prison is a former prison located in Yuma, Arizona, United States. Opened in 1875, it is one of the Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites on the National Register of Historic Places in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The site is now operated as a historical museum by Arizona State Parks as Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park.[2][3]



Opened while Arizona was still a U.S. territory, the prison accepted its first inmate on July 1, 1876.[4] For the next 33 years 3,069 prisoners, including 20 women, served sentences there for crimes ranging from murder to polygamy.[5] The prison was under continuous construction with labor provided by the prisoners.[6] In 1909, the last prisoner left the Territorial Prison for the newly constructed Arizona State Prison Complex located in Florence, Arizona.[7] It was also the 3rd historic park in Arizona.

High School

Yuma Union High School occupied the buildings from 1910 to 1914.[8] When the school's football team played against Phoenix and unexpectedly won, the Phoenix team called the Yuma team "criminals".[9] Yuma High adopted the nickname with pride, sometimes shortened to the "Crims". The school's symbol is the face of a hardened criminal, and the student merchandise shop is called the Cell Block.[10]

Notable inmates

In popular culture

(Listed chronologically) The Yuma Territorial Prison has been featured in:


See also


  1. ^ Trafzer, Cliff; George, Steve (1980). Prison Centennial, 1876–1976. Yuma County Historical Society. p. 6. OCLC 906535980.
  2. ^ http://azstateparks.com/Parks/YUTE/index.html. accessed 9/9/2010
  3. ^ Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, AZ – DesertUSA
  4. ^ Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
  5. ^ Wildernet.com – Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, Arizona State Parks
  6. ^ Yuma Territorial Prison – Arizona Ghost Towns
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
  8. ^ Yuma Union – Yuma HS: History Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  10. ^ Yuma Territorial Prison | Atlas Obscura
  11. ^ Jane Eppinga (November–December 1997). "Hellhole on the Colorado". American Cowboy. American Cowboy LLC: 88–89. ISSN 1079-3690. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  12. ^ Pop Culture 101 – 3:10 to Yuma
  13. ^ http://www.yumasun.com/articles/prison-56764-yuma-campaign.html[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ 3:10 to Yuma (2007) – FAQ
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 1, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  16. ^ "Rawhide" Incident at Alabaster Plain (1959)

Further reading

  • Joseph Stocker (May 1961). "City of Lost Hope". Arizona Highways. XXXVII (5): 36–39 – via Arizona Memory Project.

External links

  • Yuma Territorial Prison Museum and Park – Historic Yuma AZ
  • Arizona State Parks: Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park website
  • AZ Department of Corrections: Early History, with Yuma Territorial PrisonArizona Department of Corrections
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Yuma Territorial Prison
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