The history of this place begins in the late 18th century, when high-ranking and respected citizens of the state of Pennsylvania decided to fight problems in the prison system. Eastern State Penitentiary was created as a kind of alternative to all places of detention and was called "House of Repentance", which was due to a number of factors:

  • solitary confinement in reflection
  • isolation from other prisoners
  • short time

As is often the case, things turned out quite differently in practice. Already in the process of construction, the prison became “golden” and cost almost a million dollars (early 19th century). And there was no question of solitary confinement, since in just 5 years all the cells were overcrowded.

Guard and Administration Corps
Guard and Administration Corps

To maintain the “spirit of loneliness,” the prisoners were dressed in bandages and forbidden to negotiate.

Working building and foundry
Working building and foundry

Famed writer Charles Dickens was smitten with ESP, and he didn't speak well of the Pennsylvania prison system. In his opinion, immersing convicts in solitude and forcing them to wander in the bins of their brain is a terrible punishment that breaks the psyche.

Courtyard, lookout tower.
Courtyard, lookout tower.



East Philadelphia Penitentiary was considered the most modern for its time. Already in the distant 19th century, it had a heating system, toilets, water supply and natural light in each cell, even many state institutions could not boast of such. Of course, we are not talking about lighting in the ceiling :)

alcopone camera
Al Capone's 1929 camera

One of the most notorious criminals USA - Al Copone, was a "guest" of the Philadelphia prison. He got here in 1929 for the transportation of weapons. His sentence was 12 months in a “comfortable cell”. The godfather had carved furniture, lamps and even a radio.





The prison was closed in 1971, and until 1993 it was in disrepair. In 1994, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia became a museum, which today is visited by more than 200 tourists a year.

Another legendary prison in the USA - Alcatraz in San Francisco. And for all travelers a selection useful services.

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