Location: Philadelphia, PA
I visited Eastern State Penitentiary last June while we were in Philly for the U.S. Open. I enjoy visiting old prisons and learning of their history and great stories. They also provide some great opportunities for photographs.
Eastern State was built in 1829 to hold 250 prisoners and went through several expansions over the years. Al Capone spent 8 months in Eastern from 1929-1930. There was even a dog that was apparently sentenced to the prison for "life" for murdering the governors wife's cat.
Eastern State Penitentiary was designated as a National Historic landmark in 1965 before finally closing in 1970. The penitentiary was all but abandoned until the mid-80s. In 1984 the city turned the building over to the Redevelopment Authority to work on returning the building to commercial use. The Eastern State Task Force was formed in 1988 and with the Mayor's urging, the Redevelopment Authority rejects all request to use the building for commercial use. Preservation efforts began in 1991 and in 1994, Eastern State Penitentiary opens for historic tours. In 1996, the World Monument Fund added Eastern State Penitentiary to its 100 most endangered landmarks in the world.
Eastern State has also been a popular movie set location. A couple of the more popular movies filmed in Eastern State include 12 Monkeys in 1995 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009. Fans of the old MTV show "Fear" will remember the show filming in Eastern State during Season One.
More photos in the photography section...