Last week we took a day trip into Philly to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. Eastern State Penitentiary is a prison in the center of Philadelphia that opened it’s doors in 1829. The prison became one of the most expensive buildings of its time and was the prototype of what all our existing prisons systems would become.
Life within the walls during the early years of its existence was pretty rough. They used a Quaker inspired system of isolation and hard labor. The prison housed both men, women, children and at one point even a dog named Pep who was sentenced to life in prison for killing the Mayor’s wife’s favorite cat. Another notable figure who was a prisoner at Eastern State was Al Capone and you can see how lucky he was compared to his fellow prisoners by peering into this prison cell. He had tables, rugs, music, pretty much set in an apartment behind bars.
The prison was the location for one of the countries first state of the art medical hospital. It was so popular by the 1950 and 1960 inmates from other prisons where being transferred to Easter State when they had difficult medical situations that other prison hospitals could not handle.
Walking through the hallways of the prison is pretty creepy. The prison is cold even on warms days since it’s basically built from stone and you can almost hear the voices of past prisoners within the cold structure. The prison is open to the public and it pretty much has been left in its abandoned state looking as if everyone just upped and left. You’ll find boots and clothing in some of the cells along with bedding, tables, chairs, toilets, everything just left behind.
And here is the coolest thing at the prison, during the month of October Eastern State runs Terror behind the walls. They’ve created a massive haunted house that runs throughout the prison. You’ll find the gargoyles prominently displayed at the entrance Frank above and his brother Carlson are 300lbs stone gargoyles that sit atop the prison entrance.
So if you’re looking for something with historic value that’s really neat and fairly close to Connecticut I highly recommend going to Eastern State Penitentiary. Who knows maybe you’ll end up locked behind the cold walls with the ghost of prisoners past.
For more info visit Eastern State Penitentiary