Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is the place where the word penitentiary was coined, from the word penitent, the penological rehabilitation model bringing about moral penitence by isolation in a cell with a bible. It failed!
When Eastern State Penitentiary was built it was over a mile outside the city limits of Philadelphia in a cherry tree orchard, and was known as Cherry Hill. The castle like facade was intentionally drab and intimidating. Eastern State Penitentiary is a fascinating place to visit, even with kids. An audio self guided tour via head set is provided with the entrance fee.
|A relatively modern tower built on top of the central control rotunda at the center of the prison gave a 360 view .|
|One of the original cell blocks. The prison was open for over 140 years until it was closed in 1971.|
|Nine cell blocks jut off a central point in the prison. This radical new prison design was incorporated into the design of over 300 new prisons world-wide.|
|Your humble blogger stands next to the inside of the 30 foot high perimeter wall of Eastern State Penitentiary. The only escape was not over the wall, but under it.|
Below, standing next to the gate of one of the cell blocks.
|Al Capone's cell, set up to look as is was during his 8 month stay in Eastern State.|