Touring Eastern State Penitentiary

 

After being sidelined with the flu during my last trip to Philadelphia, I finally got a chance to explore Eastern State Penitentiary. I opted for the audio tour, narrated by Steve Buscemi, which makes perfect sense for some reason. I’m not usually an “tour” person. I tend to explore, read informational signs, and just try to absorb what I can from the experience. If I had time however, I would have taken a proper guided tour, as I would have be acclimated to my surroundings. Touring Eastern State Penitentiary did not disappoint. It’s in a state of “arrested decay”, just enough to keep the structure, well a structure, without doing too much to stand in the way of it’s abandoned state.

Photo: Ghost Town Travels

Photo: Ghost Town Travels

Eastern State Penitentiary is a model for prisons around the world, and a pioneer of rehabilitation rather than just strictly incarceration. Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton (and his short lived escape) were a few of the prisons famous guests. ESP as it’s sometimes referred, also provided the location for films like 12 Monkeys, Transformers: Rise of the Fallen, and famously (to me), the music video for the Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl”.

Check out the episode of Ghost Town where we really get into my experience touring Eastern State Penitentiary.

Willie Sutton and 11 other inmates made there escape in this cell.

Photo: Ghost Town Travels

Photo: Ghost Town Travels

One of two cells that may have been Al Capone’s. This is what they believe it looked like during his stay.

Photo: Ghost Town Travels

Photo: Ghost Town Travels