As a bit of a history buff, I’m a sucker for a historical site. This is especially true when that historical site is basically located right off the highway that I’m traveling down. This is the exact reason I became familiar one day with the Old Montana Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Deer Lodge is a small town located northwest of Butte, on Interstate 90. I was on my way to Butte for the first time in my life when I saw the billboard advertising the Old Montana Museum up ahead. It also mentioned an automobile museum too and I figured that with two intriguing sounding attractions on one exit, that this was a sign I needed to leave the highway soon.
I pulled right up to the prison site, very easy to find, and got out ready to check out this interesting piece of history. The building is in a state of disrepair, but is in so much better condition than I had expected considering that it was first brought into service in 1871. A nice touch was a brochure that detailed what each building in the complex was used for during the time the prison was in use. As I walked around the prison, it was easy to imagine what life would’ve been back then for both prisoners and the guards who worked there. In fact, the more I saw of the Old Montana Prison, the more I couldn’t believe that it was in use as recent as 1979.
My tour of the old prison had ended and I’d gotten my historical site fix. But, I couldn’t leave because the Old Automobile Museum was within walking distance and I had to check it out. This too was completely worth it. With well over 150 automobiles on display, some old, some new, and some incredibly rare, this was the perfect add on attraction to the prison.
If you find yourself driving down I-90, do like I did… go check out the Old Montana Prison.