20 photos

Eastern State Penitentiary is one of only two penitentiaries that have been turned into museums. The other is Alcatraz. The ESP was opened in 1829 and is located in Philadelphia, PA. It was built to incarcerate convicts from the eastern part of the state. The prison was designed and operated with the concept of changing the behavior of inmates through day and night "confinement in solitude with labor." Prisoners were not allowed to talk to one another and were fed in their cells. Hence, the solid wooden doors to each cell to increase isolation. It was thought that solitude would "make the criminal regretful and penitent" (hence the word, penitentiary). This system of confinement was officially repealed in 1913. The design of the prison was considered an architectural marvel at the time, with state-of-the-art plumbing, sewage systems, and 450 centrally-heated cells. Some of America's most notorious criminals were held in the Penitentiary's vaulted, sky-lit cells, including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone. Al Capone was given special privileges, such as being able to decorate and furnish his own cell, as shown in one of the photos. After 142 years of consecutive use, ESP was completely abandoned in 1971 and opened as a museum in 1994.
Click on thumbnails for full image.

Cell Block 2

Cell Block 2

Outer Door Cell 66

Outer Door Cell 66

Exterior

Exterior

Cell 40

Cell 40

Cell 79

Cell 79

Shower Room

Shower Room

Left Behind

Left Behind

Lead Paint

Lead Paint

Two Story Wing

Two Story Wing

Al Capon's Suite

Al Capon's Suite

Corner Tower

Corner Tower

Outer Door Cell 27

Outer Door Cell 27

Cell Block 3

Cell Block 3

Watch Tower

Watch Tower

Door Rollers

Door Rollers

Inner Cell Door

Inner Cell Door

Isolation

Isolation

Entrance

Entrance

Cell 42

Cell 42

Cell 57

Cell 57

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