Eastern State Penitentiary
America's Most Historic Prison
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 prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The penitentiary is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. is a charitable nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Note: The above descriptive information came from the museum's About Eastern State page.
In The News
- Eastern State masonry program breaks down walls, figuratively—by restoring them, literally, KYW, July 1, 2022.
- A Prison Reformed: Eastern State Penitentiary Confronts Injustice, Hidden City Philadelphia, February 10, 2022.
- Eastern State Penitentiary offers a way to not feel locked up while inside, Metro, May 4, 2020.
- Masonry Program Gives Crumbling Penitentiary HOPE, Hidden City Philadelphia, July 25, 2018.