Yuma Territorial State Prison

Country Club or Hell Hole?...

To say that Yuma is an arid climate would be an understatement, it is one of the hottest cities in the US. It does have redeeming features since, unlike Phoenix, it doesn't have the Urban Heat Island effect. Actually for most of the year, the weather in Yuma is about the same as Phoenix. Yuma has several advantages also, it's the confluence of the Colorado River and the Gila River with water still running in them, the deserts cool at night as well as it has has very mild, pleasant winters.

86°F | °C
Current: Clear
Wind: SW at 9 mph
Humidity: 14%
103°F | 71°F
103°F | 72°F
104°F | 73°F

Detailed forecast: The Weather Channel - Weather Underground - AccuWeather

All of that was moot to the residents of Yuma between 1876 and 1909 when the Yuma Territorial Prison was in operation. Originally built when Arizona was still a territory and county jails were inadequate to keep prisoners, the prison was built mainly for that purpose. Construction was done by the prisoners.

In that era electricity, much less fans and blowers, were not available to the population of the town of Yuma. Not so on the hill where the prison was into a hard rock cliff. The prison had electricity and primitive blowers, a library and hospital and townspeople referred to it as "The Country Club." The prison in reality was an awful place but depending on how hot the day, how deep it was into summer, the view of it depended on which side of The Wall you were on. Inside, prisoners referred to it as The Hell Hole.


Video produced by John Booth for AZStateParks.com