Yuma Territorial Prison

The Yuma Territorial Prison is a former prison located in Yuma, Arizona, United States. Opened on July 1, 1876, and shut down on September 15, 1909. 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]

The Yuma Territorial Prison
Main Gate to the Yuma Territorial Prison.
General information
LocationYuma, Arizona, United States
Coordinates32°43′37″N 114°36′54″W / 32.72694°N 114.61500°W / 32.72694; -114.61500





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 29 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 third historic park in Arizona. The state historic park also contains a graveyard where 104 of the prisoners are buried.[8]

High school


Yuma Union High School occupied the buildings from 1910 to 1914.[9] When the school's football team played against Phoenix and unexpectedly won, the Phoenix team called the Yuma team "criminals".[10] 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.[11]

Notable inmates


(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. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park in Arizona". azstateparks.com. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  3. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, AZ A". www.desertusa.com.
  4. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park". www.sangres.com.
  5. ^ "Wildernet.com". www.wildernet.com.
  6. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison – Arizona Ghost Town". www.ghosttowns.com.
  7. ^ "Arizona Department of Corrections". Archived from the original on April 22, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  8. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison State Park Map" (PDF).
  9. ^ Yuma Union – Yuma HS: History Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Save the Yuma Territorial Prison!". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  11. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison". Atlas Obscura.
  12. ^ Jane Eppinga (November–December 1997). "Hellhole on the Colorado". American Cowboy. American Cowboy LLC: 88–89. ISSN 1079-3690. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  13. ^ "Yuma Territorial Prison State Park, Museum & Exhibits - Yuma's #1 Tourist Destination". Yuma Territorial Prison State Park, Museum & Exhibits – Yuma's #1 Tourist Destination.
  14. ^ "Pop Culture 101 – 3:10 to Yuma".
  15. ^ "3:10 to Yuma event includes Johnny Cash tribute | prison, yuma, campaign - Life - YumaSun". www.yumasun.com. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  16. ^ "3:10 to Yuma (2007) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
  17. ^ "Hollywood - Chain Gang for Yuma Territorial Prison - Save the Prison - Yuma, AZ". Archived from the original on March 1, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  18. ^ "Hell Hole Prison". Travel Channel. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  19. ^ "Listen". And That's Why We Drink. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  20. ^ "Halloween fright: These are the top haunted destinations in the US, according to readers". www.usatoday.com. Retrieved June 24, 2021.

Further reading

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