Most Viewed Stories
'The Rock' rolls to riverfront for exhibit
For a three-month stretch this winter, history buffs in Yuma will get a look at two of the nation's most notorious prisons.
The area is already famous — or infamous — for the feared Yuma Territorial Prison of the Old West era (think “3:10 to Yuma”).
This winter, Yuma also will host a special traveling exhibit on Alcatraz (think “The Rock,” “Escape from Alcatraz” and more) at the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park from Jan. 12 through April 14.
The traveling exhibit is meant to bring the notorious prison to people who otherwise could never visit, said Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area that operates both of Yuma's state parks.
The “Life on the Rock” exhibit was created by Alcatraz Cruises at the request of the National Park Service. It will be displayed at locations around the country, including Ellis Island and Liberty State Park.
While “The Rock” coming to Yuma is the big news, it's just part of the improvements this year at the Quartermaster Depot, Flynn noted. New permanent exhibits include the Yuma Siphon, the underground water tunnel that celebrated its 100th birthday this year; steamboats on the Colorado River; railroads in Yuma circa 1900 with a miniature train installation; and the wetlands restoration project.
A sweet addition is the Back in Time Pie Shop, open daily from December through March. A more healthy feature is the Sunrise Farmers Market that will be open every Sunday from Oct. 21 through early May.
The Quartermaster Depot is also the venue for an outdoor concert by Riders in the Sky Feb. 3 and hosts Yuma's Christmas Village Dec. 15-22, Civil War Days Jan. 26-27 and Lettuce Days March 9-10.
Meanwhile, on Oct. 12 the Territorial Prison museum will unveil a new interactive digital exhibit on the Mormon polygamists sent to the fearsome lockup in 1885. The exhibit is based on scholarship by professor David Boone of Brigham Young University.
“This is a fascinating part of the prison's history,” Flynn said. “Leading Mormon citizens in the Arizona Territory were imprisoned on federal anti-polygamy charges and thrown in with the most feared criminals in the West. The exhibit explores whether these imprisonments were simply a matter of criminal prosecution or religious persecution.”
Other improvements to the Territorial Prison include the restoration of the adobe sally port.
Also due to be unveiled this fall at the prison is a new and improved time line of the prison's history along the sideway from the entrance building to the museum. New panels detailing the environmental restoration of the Yuma East Wetlands have been installed on the overlook just outside the prison's entrance.
Beginning Monday, both parks are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week through May. Adult admission is $6 for the Territorial Prison and $4 for the Quartermaster Depot, with free admission to the Sunday farmers market.
Along with local support, revenue from admissions helps Yuma's state parks to be self-sustaining and to keep them open to the public under local management, Flynn said.
Traveling Alcatraz display, new exhibit on Mormon prisoners at Territorial Prison among upgrades to local historic landmarks