A bloody palm print, footprints of monster men, the nation’s first legal lethal gas chamber—all of this and more are at the heart of the Nevada State Prison story. Founded in 1862, before Nevada was “battle born,” the prison is the oldest continuously operated penal facility in the state. Over its 150-year history, the prison has been home to some of Nevada’s most notorious criminals as well as some of the state’s stranger events. Fossilized footprints of a “giant race of man” were found buried deep within the prison quarry. The prints gave rise to the infamous Homo Nevadensis, a supposed lost branch of the human evolutionary tree. On the more macabre side, the prison hosted the nation’s first state-sanctioned execution by lethal gas. While dutifully and vigilantly serving its penal function, the Nevada State Prison has periodically garnered international attention and amassed a history worthy of study.
Author Bio: The authors include Jennifer E. Riddle, an archaeologist; Sena M. Loyd, a research librarian; and Stacy L. Branham and Curt Thomas, officers of the Nevada State Prison. In selecting images for this book, they are indebted to the Nevada State Archive, the Nevada Historical Society, and the A.E. Bernard family.
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