Eastern State Penitentiary

easternstate The interesting facts about the Eastern State Penitentiary:
  •  Prison is found in 1829 and was operational until 1971.
  • The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment. Outside the cell was an individual area for exercise, enclosed by high walls so prisoners could not communicate. Exercise time for each prisoner was synchronized so no two prisoners next to each other would be out at the same time.  Before this new experiment in eighteenth century, groups of adults and children, men and women, different sort of criminals shared whole space of the prison space behind locked doors.
  • Famous criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held in this prison.

    Al Capone’s cell reconstruction
  • This building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected also it’s became a model for more than 300 prisons in the world.
  • The structure was designed in neo-Gothic style to have the feel of a church. Doors were small and cells were made with a single glass skylight by the same reason, also to make harder  getting out.
  • Prison utilities were advanced for their time: faucet with running water, lush toilets, curved pipes, central heating. Interestingly, the ESP had running water before the White House did.
  • On April 3, 1945, a major escape was carried out by twelve inmates including Willie Sutton, who over the course of a year managed to dig 97-foot (30 m) tunnel under the prison wall. During renovations in the 1930’s an additional 30 incomplete inmate-dug tunnels were discovered.
  • After closing during the abandoned  a jungle grew inside of the building  and around the walls.
  • This prison was some sort of traveling destination even in 19th century, because of the unique building and punishment system. Charles Dickens visited prison in  1842 and he wasn’t impressed with the penitentiary system.
Address: 2027 Fairmount Ave,
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Website: www.easternstate.org
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