I have a thing for old prisons and jails, the older the better, and if they just so happen to be haunted, I find them even more interesting. The Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise fits the bill perfectly, I always make it point to visit if I'm in the area. Construction was completed in 1870, however the first prisoners didn't walk through the door until 1872. It remained in operation for 101 years, finally closing it's doors in December, 1973.
During its years in operation the penitentiary was home to over 13,000 inmates. The maximum number of inmates housed at one time was approximately 600. Despite the length of time the penitentiary was open, and the large number of people that passed through it's doors, it's somewhat surprising that only 10 inmates were executed here.
Six of the 10 executed were hung on wooden gallows which were erected in what is known as the rose garden. The inmates were in charge of tending the roses which grew here, and it's said that they were the most beautiful roses in all of Boise.
Cell House 5, which was built in 1954 housed the maximum security inmates and was complete with "Death Row" and a gallows.
Surprisingly enough of the ten executions carried out at this penitentiary only one was done in this cell house. Raymond Snowden, known as Idaho's Jack the Ripper was executed here on the 18th of October, 1957. Unfortunately for him, his neck did not break and he dangled at the end of the noose for 15 minutes until he suffocated to death.
In the years since the prison closed its doors to inmates numerous people have reported seeing ghostly figures and hearing odd noises when there is no one else there. Some of the reported activity includes people seeing inmates tending the roses in the rose garden, hearing men talking in the cell houses, and even a ghostly cat has been spotted a few times.