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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Deer Lodge in Powell County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

1959 Riot

Old Montana Prison

 
 
1959 Riot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 13, 1997
1. 1959 Riot Marker
Inscription. On the afternoon of April 16, Jerry Myles and Lee Smart led a band of inmates in a violent riot against prison authorities. Seizing a rifle from the catwalk guard, they took control of the 1912 cell house.

Forcing their way into the administration building, the rioting inmates shot and killed Deputy Warren Ted Rothe and then took 19 prison employees and 5 inmates (stool pigeons) as hostages. The inmates threatened to burn the hostages alive if any attempt was made to rescue them.

In a daring rescue plan formed by Warden Floyd Powell, National Guardsmen fired a bazooka at the northwest tower of the cell house headquartered. The blast stunned the inmates long enough for a rescue team to free the hostages. Myles and Smart were found dead in the third floor of the tower, apparently a double suicide.

Although the riot drew attention to the numerous problems within the prison, it would be another twenty years before the old prison was closed down.

If you look at the cell house tower, you can still see the damage caused by the bazooka shell fired during the rescue attempt.
 
Erected by Old Prison Museums.
 
Location. 46° 23.56′ N, 112° 44.158′ W. Marker is in Deer Lodge, Montana, in Powell County

Old Montana Prison Yard image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 13, 1997
2. Old Montana Prison Yard
. Marker is on Main Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1106 Main Street, Deer Lodge MT 59722, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Winter of 1886 (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Valley of a Thousand Haystacks (approx. 14.2 miles away); First Discovery of Gold in Montana (approx. 15.6 miles away).
 
Categories. Notable Places
 
Montana Prison Cell Block Tower image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 13, 1997
3. Montana Prison Cell Block Tower
Montana Prison-look inside a cell image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 13, 1997
4. Montana Prison-look inside a cell
Montana Prison-inside the museum image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 13, 1997
5. Montana Prison-inside the museum
Sign in front of Old Montana Prison Musuem image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, June 13, 1997
6. Sign in front of Old Montana Prison Musuem
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on August 9, 2016.
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