The next time you're in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, don't miss The Eastern State Penitentiary. We almost did because it didn't come up as a big tourist attraction, and since we did Alcatraz a couple of months before, who cares about another old prison? Let me tell you, Eastern State Penitentiary is a glorious ruin! It's beautiful in it's decay!
The original prison was finished on October 25, 1829 and was the very first penitentiary in the United States.
"Designed by John Haviland and opened on October 25, 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary, a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts."
"The system eventually collapsed due to overcrowding problems. By 1913, Eastern State officially abandoned the solitary system and operated as a congregate prison until it closed in 1970."
"Each cell had accommodations that were advanced for their time, which included a faucet with running water over a flush toilet, as well as curved pipes along part of one wall which served as central heating during the winter months where hot water would be run through the pipes to keep the cells reasonably heated. The toilets were remotely flushed twice a week by the guards of the cellblock.Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone."
"Al Capone was able to obtain special privileges while in prison. He was transferred to Alcatraz on August 11, 1934, which was newly established as a prison on an island off San Francisco. The warden kept tight security and cut off Capone's contact with colleagues. His isolation diminished his power."
"It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966."