Destinations

New Mexico Turns Closed Prison with History of Deadly Riots Into Tourist Attraction

Feb 25, 2014 12:30 pm

Skift Take

More states and cities are realizing the economic potential of closed historical sites and successfully turning eyesores into job generators.

— Samantha Shankman

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Ken Piorkowski  / Flickr

Ken Piorkowski / Flickr


Tickets are now available for upcoming tours of a closed New Mexico prison where one of the nation’s deadliest riots took place.

The New Mexico Department of Corrections said this week the state is selling tickets for “Old Main” prison tours that begin in May. Tours of the prison outside of Santa Fe are scheduled twice a month and will continue through October.

Last year, corrections officials opened the historic site for limited public tours.

In February 1980, inmates at the prison killed 33 fellow prisoners in a violent clash that included beheadings, amputations and burned bodies. More than 100 other inmates and guards were hurt in the 36-hour riot fueled by overcrowded conditions.

Officials hope to eventually to turn the site into a museum.

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