Springer, New Mexico - State Electric Chair.
Springer, New Mexico - State Electric Chair.

America's Excellent Electric Chairs

Sizzlin'! Just don't get too fried before you visit America's Glamorous Gas Chambers, too!


New Mexico's First and Only Electric Chair

Huntsville, Texas - Old Sparky.
Huntsville, Texas - Old Sparky.

This museum actually doesn't have anything to do with the Santa Fe Trail; its just another collection of dull local junk. "We named it the Sante Fe Trail Museum because the Trail runs close to Springer," explained Bertha Chavez, the museum's curator. However, the museum does have two displays of note: New Mexico's first and only electric chair (complete with a battered glamour mannequin about to be fried) and a "shoe of a giant" -- a brown wingtip that once belonged to Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man. How did that get out here?

Old Sparky: Lone Star of Texas

Opened in 1989, the Texas Prison Museum offers a display of makeshift weapons, treasures like Clyde Barrow's carbine, a mock jail cell, and "Old Sparky", the electric chair that fried 361 men between 1924 and 1964. Art and crafts created by inmates are displayed. Of particular interest: "Old Sparky" was hand-made by some incarcerated craftsmen, and was built sturdily enough to outlive all its occupants and a stint in the prison dump. It was recovered and donated to the museum. The entire collection, once housed in a cramped old bank building, moved in late 2002 to a 10,000 square foot facility off I-45 northwest of Huntsville, near the Wynne Prison Unit.

Also see: Sponge Execution Controversy

New Mexico's Electric Chair

Santa Fe Trail Museum

Address:
614 Maxwell Ave., Springer, NM
Directions:
Santa Fe Trail Museum. East side of Maxwell Ave., two blocks north of the intersection of US Hwy 56/412, in the old Colfax County Courthouse.
Hours:
Summer daily 9 am to 4 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
575-483-5554
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Texas Prison Museum

Texas Prison Museum

Address:
491 State Hwy. 75 North, Huntsville, TX
Directions:
I-45 exit 118. The museum is on the frontage road, east side.
Hours:
M-Sa 10-5, Su 12-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
936-295-2155
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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