Eastern State Penitentiary

Philadelphia Travel Blog

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Jeremy infront of the Liberty Bell.

Eastern State Pen. I don't even know where to begin. There are no words to describe all the feelings of walking through this prison. It was scary, sad, heartbreaking, tortured, crazy, lonely, old, and unlike anything I've ever seen before. This prison even had running water before the white house!

Designed by John Haviland and opened in 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary. Its revolutionary system of incarceration, dubbed the Pennsylvania System, originated and encouraged solitary confinement as a form of rehabilitation. It was widely believed (then and now) to have caused significant mental illness among its prisoners due to its solitary confinement. The Penitentiary was intended not simply to punish, but to move the criminal toward spiritual reflection and change.

Both of us infront of the Liberty Bell.

Today, the Eastern State Penitentiary operates as a museum and historic site, open from April 1 through November 30. The facility has been kept in "preserved ruin," meaning that no significant attempts have been made for renovations or upkeep. Guests are asked to sign a liability waiver due to some minor safety concerns. - Wikipedia

We did the audio tour which was narrated by Tony Sopranos' cousin Tony from the Sopranos. It told the history of the prison and even had comments from former inmates/guards. We saw Al Capone's old cell, where he did a little less than a year sentence.

We came back in the night time to go through a Haunted House. During Oct they turn the prison into a haunted house. Very cool. I'm really glad we decided to do both the haunted tour and the daytime tour. If you have a chance to get out to Philly and see Eastern State I highly suggest you do.

kensac says:
I agree about your comments on Eastern States Pen. Quite a place just melting away. Did you take the guided tour that gets you in places the self guided tour did not? Taking a trolly or bus tour of a city really gives you a good overview and an opportunity to go back and visit the places of interest to you.
Posted on: Oct 17, 2007
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The Liberty Bell infront of Independence Hall.

We decided to take a double decker bus tour around the city. For about $25 per person it's a 24 hour pass that has about 15 different stops to get on/off, the tour guides are humerous and knowledgeable.  We drove by numerous land marks and got off at Eastern State Pennitentary. We didn't realize that we wouldn't have enough time to do everything.

Before we boarded the bus we walked around the Independence Hall visitors center. We saw the site of George Washington's house and a couple folks dressed up in old attire.

The first place we got off was the Reading Terminal Market. The market held all the things that I miss so much from PA. They had Amish gifts, bakeries, specialty bakeries, and best of all cheese steaks. We got a cheese steak from Spataro's with everything on it. Onions, mushrooms, peppers, american cheese, mayo, mustard, and ketchup. It was soooo good. I told my husband that 1 will be too big for me and I won't be able to eat the whole thing. Crazy enough I did eat the whole thing because it was so good.

We drove by many different landmarks. We saw the Art Museum, Rodins museum, Betsy Ross' house, Philly Zoo, and the next place that we stopped and got off, Eastern State Penitentiary.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - Benjamin Franklin

Standing in the frame of where Ben Franklin once lived was awesome. The house and Bens print shop has since been torn down but a mock frame has taken their place. The original foundation is still in place and covered up with plexus glass, but still very visible to public viewing. Describtions of his house are intact and his house was surprisingly modern for his time. The foundation under the house was slanted and allowed waste to drain into a privy at the side of the house. He had a basis for "running sewer" without pipes. It's very interesting and cool to imagine.

Independence Hall was extraordinary! It's hard to even believe that I stood in the exact place the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. It was a moving and special experience that made me appreciate our country for what it is. Learning the basis on what our country was founded upon and standing in the exact room where our nation became an independent country is truly amazing. Any history buff has to check this place out!
stabber911 says:
(movie 'National Treasure')
Posted on: Oct 12, 2007
stabber911 says:
You didnt jump off and walk across the roof to find secret brick and inside find the Ben Frank's glass? :)
Posted on: Oct 12, 2007
The Liberty Bell was the first stop on our tour through Philly. It's a really neat experience. It's FREE for entry and the building is mostly glass, so cool for looking out and seeing the Liberty Bell infront of Indepdence Hall. Perfect for a family trip, and even romantic for couples.
Jeremy infront of the Liberty Bell.
Jeremy infront of the Liberty Bell.
Both of us infront of the Liberty …
Both of us infront of the Liberty…
The Liberty Bell infront of Indepe…
The Liberty Bell infront of Indep…
Inside the court house. The guide …
Inside the court house. The guide…
Jeremy inside the court house.
Jeremy inside the court house.
Independence Hall.
Independence Hall.
This is where the Declaration was …
This is where the Declaration was…
Standing where the Declaration was…
Standing where the Declaration wa…
Jeremy infront of Independence Hal…
Jeremy infront of Independence Ha…
My cheesesteak from Spataros at t…
My cheesesteak from Spataro's at …
City Hall
City Hall
The site where George Washingtons…
The site where George Washington'…
Jeremy eating his cheesesteak.
Jeremy eating his cheesesteak.
Rodins The Thinker
Rodin's "The Thinker"
Spinning
Spinning
Jeremy and a historic guy.
Jeremy and a historic guy.
ESP yard
ESP yard
entrance
entrance
death row switchboard
death row switchboard
Jeremy behind bars.
Jeremy behind bars.
The central hub in ESP.
The central hub in ESP.
The eye of God
The "eye of God"
Exercise yard
Exercise yard
death row
death row
Al Capones Cell.
Al Capone's Cell.
The hallway.
The hallway.
Stairs
Stairs
Me in a cell block
Me in a cell block
Jeremy inside a cell.
Jeremy inside a cell.
These were the original doors used…
These were the original doors use…
An original cell from the 1900s.
An original cell from the 1900's.
Jeremy infront of a cellblock door.
Jeremy infront of a cellblock door.
These are the later added cellbloc…
These are the later added cellblo…
A layout of Ben Franklins house.
A layout of Ben Franklin's house.
Layout of Ben Franklins house
Layout of Ben Franklin's house
Ben Franklin used this original pa…
Ben Franklin used this original p…
Philadelphia Sights & Attractions review
ESP
I thought Eastern State Penn was so cool!!! We took a guided audio tour throughout the jail during the day. Eastern State was one of the first jails i… read entire review
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photo by: Ann_Hells