Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Old Pen...

Our family LOVES to go on field trips...
though we don't hit as many as I would like...
we make it to our fair share.
One that always leaves a lasting impression on kids is the Old State Penitentary.

It had been a few years since taking our family on this outing and our younger kids really didn't recall it in the time to make it happen again.  Lucky for us, one of our friends planned this field trip ~ we were so happy to join in!

Quick Thought:  I'm thinking that if more "troubled kiddos" were taken to these sorts of places and were to REALLY listen to the stories, they might change their tune just a bit...just my thoughts ~ but I bet it might make a difference. 

Anyway...I feel that these experiences are so valuable. 
I love for our kids to SEE History and for them to FEEL it and BE WHERE IT REALLY HAPPENED.  So much better than only reading about it in a book...
why wouldn't you want to be there and get it all in person???

Side note:  Have you ever really thought about the word "Penitent"...
did you ever put two and two together that the word "Penitentary" comes from "penitent"...
on this field trip, I had that ah ha moment
I wonder how many of the prisoners ever feel completely penitent...
is there success in this? 
Or do they choose the adverse and remain arrogant, defensive and stubborn?
Definition: (adj.) feeling or showing remorse for something; (n.) a regretful or remorseful person
Synonyms: (adj.) shamed, apologetic, regretful, remorseful, sorry, sorrowful, amending, atoning, contrite
Antonyms: (adj.) arrogant, defensive, stubborn

Following is a bit of the History of the Old Pen:  Then I'll add in my two cents and show you some fabulous photos!!!

The Old Idaho Penitentiary, also known as the Idaho Territorial Prison, was constructed in the Territory of Idaho in 1870 and lasted until 1973. The territory was less than ten years old when the prison was built east of Boise, Idaho. From its beginnings as a single cell house, the penitentiary grew to a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a high sandstone wall. The stone was quarried from the nearby ridges by the resident convicts, who also completed all the later construction.
The Old Pen is operated by the Idaho State Historical Society.

The Old Idaho Penitentiary was a functioning prison for 101 years. It was built in 1870, and the first prisoners arrived in 1872. The four and a half-acre site was selected because of its proximity to the growing agricultural center in Boise and to sandstone, the material used in the construction of the penitentiary’s walls, Administration Building, and cell houses. The buildings on the site were built by inmate laborers.

In 1872, the Idaho Territorial Penitentiary officially opened. The Old Idaho Penitentiary grew from a single cell house into a complex of several buildings holding Idaho's most notorious criminals. The "Old Pen" received over 13,000 inmates with a maximum population of over 600 inmates. There were 222 women inmates, including repeat offenders.  Two famous inmates were Harry Orchard and Lyda Southard. Harry Orchard assassinated Governor Frank Steunenberg at the turn of the 19th to 20th century and Lyda Southard was known as Idaho's Lady Bluebeard for killing several of her husbands to collect upon their life insurance.
Two serious riots occurred in 1971 and 1973 over living conditions in the prison.

The federal government operated the site until statehood in 1890.
The “Old Pen”officially closed in December 1973.

There's your History Lesson for the day!  ;)



We started our morning out with a short video (very well done!)
then moved on to our guided tour of the facility.
Our Tour Guide shared many stories of the people who had been imprisoned.
She spoke of their crimes, their attempts at escape, their poor choices and the punishments that happened because of their choices.
I can't help but think that they knew exactly what would happen to them...yet chose to do awful things anyway resulting in awful consequences. 
The stories were heartbreaking to say the least, but quite eye-opening.

I have to wonder -- Is there a line where people can't see that there are consequences for their actions???
Or do they just come to a point that they do not care?
Did they ever care? 
I have to say yes, I believe we all have that in us.
So...that leads me to the sadness that I feel...
SOMETHING in their lives turned their hearts cold,
something or someone was the cause of a heart that no longer feels or cares.

I believe whole-heartedly that THEY HAVE A CHOICE to turn off the goodness within themselves. 
But that also means
and squelch the bad! 
Just stomp it out of existence!!!
Why is it so hard to make the good, righteous choices in life? 
What makes a person choose such a bad road to walk down? 
What could turn them around? 
It is just so sad to know
how Bad and
how Mean and
how truly Awful
some people can be to others.

It was refreshing to walk outside of the cell blocks to see a little piece of beauty poking up out of the earth...needed that!

I was intrigued by the sandstone walls and the towers.
If I closed my eyes, I could so clearly imagine a guard pacing back and forth keeping watch over the inmates thoughts turn to the loneliness of both the guard and the inmate.

Where is that flower picture???  I need to focus on something happy!!!

Another section of the prison that was not on our tour, but that we could not pass up seeing was the Women's Prison...

I think this sign says it all ~ girls need their Mommas to teach them to act like ladies.
Maybe, just maybe, that would have made the difference for some of these women???

We talked with our younger kids who were able to go on this tour ~ our older ones were all busy with other classes at the time, so just the three little ones were with us for this field trip.
We had a moment to "dress up"...
I asked them "make a face" at the thought of having to live in this god-forsaken's what they came up with!

Yep, that pretty much sums up the way life would feel for ya if you had to spend your days in this place...Gives a new meaning to Home Sweet Home!  I think maybe they each appreciated how good life is for them after checking out the bedrooms here.

Love my pillow
Love my blankets
Love my windows (without bars!)
Love to eat yummy food
Love to be warm and comfy
Love to have those I love around me!

So glad I learned early in life that YOU should always obey the rules
Treat others well
Tell the truth
and do unto others as they would do unto you.

Hoping I've done my job and that my kids "get it" ...

Happy Field Tripping to you!