About the Prison
Nevada State Prison is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Fifth Street and Interstate 580 (State Highway 395) in Carson City. It is approximately 2 miles from the state capital and visible from the interstate. 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.
Opened in 1862 as a prison, it is the third oldest prison in the country, west of the Mississippi, behind San Quentin (1852) and Alcatraz (late 1850s).
The Nevada State Prison (NSP) was closed to inmates on January 4, 2012 and officially decommissioned on May 18, 2012.
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. It was last used as a gas chamber in 1979. Thirty two inmates have experienced the wrath of the gas chamber and another eleven others have been executed in the chamber by lethal injection with the last execution in 2006.
The on site quarry provided sandstone for many of Carson City’s oldest buildings including public building of the State of Nevada.
Nevada’s automobile license plates will continue to be made at NSP through March 2015 when manufacturing will be moved to Northern Nevada Correction Center also located in Carson City.
There’s a lot more history to be learned here. There are the fossilized footprints, the “Bull Pen” casino, the hot springs, the Warm Springs Hotel, the ‘cave’ and more.
History lives within NSP’s gates.