The Nevada State prison as a museum
The Nevada State Prison Preservation Society (NSPPS) is a nonprofit Nevada corporation [see note] established to preserve Nevada’s oldest prison as a museum. The prison is located in Carson City, Nevada’s capitol.
The Society’s mission is “To preserve and maintain the decommissioned Nevada State Prison for the education of present and future generations as to the history and use of the prison”.
About the prison
The prison is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Fifth Street and State Highway 395 (Interstate 580). It is about 2 miles from the state capitol and visible from the highway. It is closed and under lock and key but it is approachable. You can park in its parking lot and walk up to the main gate and guard tower for a look inside.
Built in 1862 it is the third oldest prison in the country, west of the Mississippi, behind San Quentin (1852) and Alcatraz (late 1850s).
NSP was closed to inmates on January 4, 2012 and officially closed/decommissioned on May 18, 2012 [click here].
It is the site of the first gas chamber in the world which was first used in 1924. In total, there have been three gas chambers of various construction within NSP. The last constructed gas chamber, #3, is still ‘active’ as an execution chamber using lethal injection although it has not been used since 1979. Thirty two inmates have experienced the wrath of the gas chamber [click here] and another eleven have been executed in the chamber by lethal injection.
The onsite quarry provided sandstone for many of Carson City’s oldest buildings including those of the State of Nevada.
Nevada’s automobile license plates will continue to be made at NSP for another year or so.
There’s a lot more to be learned here. There are the fossilized footprints, the “Bull Pen” casino, the hot springs, the hotel, the ‘cave’ and more. History lives within NSP’s gates.
The prison Museum NEEDS YOU!
Without your help, involvement and donations it will be a very difficult journey to protect this landmark. We encourage your full support to bring this museum project to fruition and further help the efforts to make Nevada a traveler’s destination.
We would like you to join the NSPPS and get involved. Call 775-722-0394 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We would like you to contact your local and state representatives and tell them to support this effort rather than letting another piece of history disappear.
We would like you to make a tax deductible donation [see note] to help fund this project. Checks may be sent to NSPPS, 1900 South Carson Street, Suite 300, Carson City, NV 89701.
As an overall part of this preservation project the Society is currently working with local and state officials:
- Assembly Bill AB493 has been introduced (9/5/2012) by Assemblyman Peter Livermore to obtain a 99 year lease at $1.00 per year as a means of ensuring the museum’s longevity as a nonprofit educational museum
- to enroll the prison into the National Register of Historical Places thereby noting its importance to history
Note: NSPPS is a Nevada nonprofit corporation. IRS 501(C)3 nonprofit status has been applied for and is pending.