We’re back in Yuma, Arizona. Last year I published this post at my old blog site. Enjoy.
Tomorrow, we’re headed to Tombstone, Arizona. I wonder where it fits on the list of Arizona’s top tourist attractions? #1 is the Grand Canyon. But, the #2 spot is hotly contested between Lake Havasus’ authentic, antique London Bridge
and Yuma’s Territorial Prison.
We visited both and can’t agree on which one should have the honour of being #2. John voted for Lake Havasu. Obviously, he’s British. It could have been a phone booth. (Which England must have thrown in the deal, because there’s one there.) I bet the following conversation took place before the purchase was made.
Robert Plumer, Real Estate Agent: Now hear me out. I know that 7 million dollars in 1968 seems like a lot of money. But, you’ve to to believe me when I say that the tourists returning from the Grand Canyon have had enough of canyons and nature to last them for a life time. They’ll be ready for something different, something they can tell their kids about, something they can tell their grandchildren about. Something cultural like an authentic, antique English, London Bridge. Besides, you promised the Government that if they gave you this land for free, you would develop it.
Mr. McCullock, owner of desolate Lake Havasu: Oh! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ridiculous, I can guarantee you that no one will come to dry, barren Lake Havasu just to see an authentic, antique London Bridge. That’s crazy talk. What else have you got?
The deal was signed in 1968. The bridge’s construction was completed in 1971. Lake Havasu claims to have thousands of tourists visit the bridge each year.
However, “I” think that Yuma’s Territorial Prison should be #2, because after you take your picture with the bridge, you are essentially done.
But at the prison, you can take all kinds of fun pictures.
But more importantly, I believe the prison deserves the honour of being the #2 tourist attraction in Arizona, because of the following story I wrote, based on an article I found in Yuma’s old newspaper, “The Hell Hole.”
Chico Viscaya, an inmate, killed a guard with a spike. His buddy grabbed the dead guard’s gun, shot a second guard, shot the tower guard, then forced the sentry to open the gate. A mob formed. Another guard attempted to reach the tower platform, but Chico’s buddy shot him too. I bet the mob was thinking,
“Si! Freedom. Si! Freedom!”
I bet the mob continued to think,
“Si! Freedom. Si! Freedom!”
when they saw Madora Ingalls, wife of the Superintendent, run up the tower steps, because they loved and respected her.
had introduced a band, health clinic, library
for the inmates. Even though Chico’s buddy fired back at the urging of another inmate,
“Disparela dios maldita sea! No Parese solo alli como tontos!” or “Shoot her. God Damn it. Don’t just stand there like fools.”
It was no use. Madora, “Cajones of Steel”
Ingalls single handedly quelled that prison escape in less than 10
Now seriously, how can an authentic, antique London Bridge compete with that story? Let me know which one you choose, and we’ll get back to you about where Tombstone fits on the list.
Senora Shelley y Senor John
(Madora Ingills Photo, Yumasun.com)