Monday, August 25, 2014

Texas Prison Museum

Phil knows what a true crime buff I am so he made the plans for us to go to the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas.
The Texas Prison Museum, in existence since 1989, features numerous exhibits detailing the history of the Texas prison system, both from the point of view of the inmates as well as the men and women who worked within the prison walls.
The museum is filled with interesting memorabilia from the surrounding prisons, including death row.
One of the more infamous inmates was Henry Lee Lucas who had claimed to have killed over a 100 women.
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One of the unusual things about Huntsville Prison was the prison rodeo.
Marshall Lee Simmons, the general manager of the prison system, started the rodeo in 1931.
The events included bareback basketball, bronco riding, bull riding, calf roping, and wild cow milking.
One of the most talked about events was the  Hard Money Event. Forty Inmates with red shirts were turned into the arena with a raging wild bull with a Bull Durham tobacco sack tied between its horns. The object was for some brave inmate to get the sack and take it to the Judge. Fifty dollars had been placed in the sack but donations often ran the pay up, sometimes to $1500. This became a very popular event for the inmates due to the amount of money involved and was one of the most dangerous ones as well.
The last rodeo was held on October 26, 1986.
This saw blade was painted by one of the inmates of some rodeo participants.

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Some paraphilia from the rodeo years.
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A lot of the inmates were very talented and passed their time making beautiful things.
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Texas is a death penalty state.
Below is several items from various death executions protests.

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Death row was located in the East Building of the Huntsville Unit from 1928 to 1952.  From 1952 until 1965, the electric chair was located in a building by the East Wall of the Huntsville Unit.
Ole Sparky
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This man was put to death in 2002 for the murder of two little girls in 1992.
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A metal shield that the guards used during riots
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Inmates can be very creative. These are shivs and other objects that inmates would make inside prison.

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I really wanted to get this shirt for Alicia!
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A rocking horse made by an inmate.
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We enjoyed our tour of the Texas Prison Museum and have already recommended it to several of our friends as a must see place to go while in this part of Texas.