The History of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary

The History of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary

The History of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary

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Philadelphia's Eastern State PenitentiaryPhiladelphia, PA - If you're interested in the history of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP), you've come to the right place. Eastern State Penitentiary, also known as ESP, was an institution that operated from 1829 until 1971. It was located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue, between North 22nd and Corinthian Avenue. During its existence, the ESP housed more than 2,500 prisoners.


Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary

In the 1960s, the prison was closed but was reopened for public tours in 1994. Since then, more than 300,000 people have visited the prison and learned about its history. Preservationists have been fighting to preserve the historic building and are working to preserve it as a historic site. They're even working on a project to restore a portion of the prison to its original condition.



Prisoners at Eastern State Penitentiary

Prisoners at Eastern State Penitentiary were incredibly diverse. Inmates from African American backgrounds were disproportionately represented, but immigration patterns led to the addition of Irish and German inmates. In addition to African Americans, Italians and Eastern European immigrants began arriving in the 1880s. Women were also held at Eastern State Penitentiary until 1923. The prison even hired a matron to supervise the women. They served similar sentences to male inmates. In the nineteenth century, most prisoners were convicted of property crimes and sentenced to two years, with some serving longer terms for more serious crimes.

Eastern State Penitentiary Night Tours

When you visit Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, make sure to check out its night tours. The dimly lit cells and haunted rooms can make your blood curl! Many paranormal research projects have focused on this haunted location. It's even claimed that it is Philadelphia's most haunted site. It's a fascinating historical site for anyone who loves history.



The Model For Prisons Worldwide

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is an important part of the history of American penal institutions. The building was built in 1829 by Quakers and became a model for prisons worldwide. Its founders were passive Quakers who believed that solitary confinement was the most effective way to enforce penance. And it didn't hurt that prisoners tended to become insane.

The Prisons Rich History

The prison's rich history has transformed the building into an internationally acclaimed museum. The complex includes exhibits, audio tours, and art installations. In addition to exhibits, Eastern State Penitentiary also has a haunted house that draws visitors. It hosts popular annual events such as Bastille Day celebrations and haunted-house fundraisers. While Eastern State Penitentiary is historically significant, today, it is an important place for reflection on criminal justice reform in America.



Inside The Prison

The Eastern State Penitentiary opened on October 25, 1829. The purpose of isolation was to teach prisoners to think about their actions and reflect on them. Reformers hoped that such treatment would help inmates remorse and repent. Architect John Haviland used a "hub-and-spoke" design, with one prison guard sitting at the central hub. Each cell block included a skylight and a small exercise yard. The prison's vaulted ceilings were meant to mimic the atmosphere of a church. The prison closed in 1971 but is still a relic of Philadelphia history.


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