Prison Could Become Museum

Nevada State Prison
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CARSON CITY - Several Carson City residents are hoping to see the historic Nevada State Prison become a museum. The one-hundred-fifty-year-old prison was closed last month to save money.

"If you can do it in Germany, Rome and Greece and save historical monuments over there and millions of people travel over there maybe we should do a little bit here and start marketing Carson City," Myron Carpenter said.

Carpenter and several of his neighbors said they're reaching out to hundreds of people to discuss the idea.

The Nevada State Prison was the location of the nation's first gas chamber.

Carpenter took students on an annual tour of the prison when a teacher in Douglas County. He said one time a prisoner offered some advice: "I'm not going to tell you the language he said, but he said: 'you know you don't want to come in here.'"

In its long history, there was a fire at the prison and it was rebuilt. The prison predates Nevada's statehood by two years.

The Department of Corrections said it is looking into the possibility of the prison becoming a museum. But a spokesperson said it might take a decade, and relies on money that right now doesn't exist. Carpenter said he's more focused on seeing the facility preserved, and funding will have to come later.

"We've received a lot of positive response (the public) think(s) it's a great idea to make it into a museum."

Although the prisoners were moved last month, license plates are still made at the prison. If there were to be an execution in Nevada it would also happen on the Nevada State Prison grounds.

Carpenter also envisions rail service some day bringing visitors to the prison.