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Deer Lodge, Montana: Old Prison Museum

Old prison with the expected colorful history. "Cement shoe soles were mandated for all prisoners with a history of escaping over walls." The Old Prison includes the Auto Museum (over 120 old cars), Frontier Museum, and Montana Law Enforcement Museum.

1106 Main St., Deer Lodge, MT
I-90 exit 184 (or 187) and drive south (or north) on Hwy 90/Main St. The prison will be on the west side of the street, at Texas Ave. The gift shop is on the east side of the street, in an old Texaco gas station.
M-Sa 8-6, Su 9-6. Closed in winter. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $15, military $12
RA Rates:
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Visitor Tips and News About Old Prison Museum

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Old Prison Museum

If there was ever any chance that I might go to prison I am officially cured after that visit! Completely creepy! I much preferred the auto museum. They had wonderful old photos of the town next to the cars of the area, which put it head and shoulders above other auto museums I've been to. They even had a car from the Mad Max movies.

[GigiP, 08/26/2019]
Old Prison Museum

The admission price includes all other town museums, i.e., auto museum, toy, doll and train museum, prisoner hand made gifts, Western and WWII museum, and historical museum. Very interesting.

[WALSH, 07/01/2017]
Old Montana Prison

The Old Montana Prison is now a museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by inmate labor, this turn-of-the-century fortress was home to at least one member of Butch Cassidy's "Wild Bunch." gang. Guided and self-guided tours lead you through the Cell House, the slide-bar cells, and the chilling maximum security Black Box.

[Misty, 08/29/2015]

Old Prison Museum.

Old Prison Museum

Really creepy, thus place was way better than I expected. I went there on a rainy day in April, when the temperature was in the 30's. That added to the scare factor a lot since I was cold the whole time. You could spend a lot of time here.

It's not Alcatraz by a long shot, but the history of the prison was documented and maintained quite well. There are interesting stories, like "Turkey Pete," or the riot in the '50s -- the staff is quite knowledgeable. It's a self guided tour, so you get a pamphlet to explain everything.

The creepiest parts: there is a large noose in a hellish burnt-out theater and you can hear pigeons (did NOT sound like pigeons), and a completely freaky hallway where only the guards went to watch over prisoners when they watched movies. My friend and I were freaked out in that hallway real bad!

[Thomas, 04/26/2011]
Old Prison Museum

Gift shop in front where prisoners' crafts are sold. Beautiful paintings, horsehair keychains, and leather goods. The old territorial prison entrance is through the gift shop (admission fee); the prison looks and feels haunted like the Rawlins prison. The back prison area has low ceilings -- five cells clustered together, all facing the cell shower. Cement shoe soles were mandated for all prisoners with history of escaping over walls. Built late 1800's by convict labor.

Prison closed 1979, believe there is a newer prison nearby where crafts are made.

[Irma Roth, 12/01/2008]

Even though it's been closed since 1960, the cells in the old prison reportedly still smell like convicts, and its northwest guard tower has bazooka blast damage from a riot in 1939. The new Montana State Prison is just four miles down the road.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Golden Spike of MontanaGolden Spike of Montana, Deer Lodge, MT - < 1 mi.
Salt and Pepper Shaker CollectionSalt and Pepper Shaker Collection, Deer Lodge, MT - < 1 mi.
The Big StackThe Big Stack, Anaconda, MT - 21 mi.
In the region:
All-Nighter Head of JFK, Anaconda, MT - 21 mi.

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