Eastern State Penitentiary, America's oldest prison, has an interesting museum detailing its history. ((courtesy, J. Smith for Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation))

Eastern State Penitentiary, America's oldest prison, has a long and storied history that is on display at the facility's museum. The idea of a Philadelphia prison was born 1787, when a group of well-known and powerful Philadelphians convened in the home of Benjamin Franklin. The men expressed growing concern with the conditions in American and European prisons and hoped that Pennsylvania would set the international standard in prison design. One of the men, Dr. Benjamin Rush, proposed building a true penitentiary, one that created genuine penitence in the criminal's heart. It took more than 30 years to convince the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to build it, but Eastern State Penitentiary opened in1829 and was operational for more than 100 years. It finally closed in 1971. Notable inmates included mobster Al Capone. Today, Eastern State Penitentiary is open to the public for guided tours and also contains a number of exhibits.

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Expert Review of Eastern State Penitentiary

Family Review of Eastern State Penitentiary

Away Travel Expert: Candyce H. Stapen
FamilyExpert Rating 4.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Children aged 6 - 12 and 13 - 17
FamilyExpert Tips & Helpful Hints
  • Best to visit during Halloween.

2124 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 13110

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: (215) 236-5111
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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