"Eastern State Penitentiary, was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone." taken from the website
The Quaker designed prison opened in 1829 remained in use for 142 years. As a lover of history, ghosts lore, and architecture, this tour was a feast for the senses. My dear Carlin and I spent an afternoon wandering from cell to cell, trying to imagine what it must have been like for those who did hard time there. Solitude with only the Eye of God (small opening in the ceiling) to keep companion to their thoughts, they did their time in absolute silence to repent their sins. That is until demand over-ruled supply, cells doubled their occupancy, and stories leaked of parties complete with booze supplied by the staff, even during prohibition.
If ever I needed impetus to save for a real camera and take photography classes, this place is reason enough. In fact, as our wedding anniversary is Bastille Day (July 14th), and there is a street festival to commemorate it outside the prison walls, I think our return will be soon. Revelers are encouraged to dress in period costume and bring a squirt gun to re-enact the storming of the Bastille. Of course, we could always return for the haunt this fall, when they turn it into a haunted house which is consistently rated America's scariest haunted house. In fact, TAPS filmed an episode of Ghost Hunters there (view HERE).
Carlin and I enjoyed dinner at a lovely Italian place after our tour. I love this photo of her.
Here are my photos, see below (refresh this page if you don't see the slideshow) or better yet: