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Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Review

Designed by John Haviland and built in 1829, Eastern State was at the time the most expensive building in America; it influenced penal design around the world and was the model for some 300 prisons from China to South America. Before it closed in 1971, the prison was home to Al Capone, Willie Sutton, and Pep the Dog, who killed the cat that belonged to a governor's wife. The audio tour of this ruin features narration by former guards and inmates—punctuated by cell doors slamming and other sounds of prison life. The penitentiary, just a half mile north of the Rodin Museum, hosts changing art exhibitions, haunted house tours around Halloween, and a Bastille Day celebration the Sunday before July 14, with a reenactment of the storming of the Bastille.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 22nd St. and Fairmount Ave., Fairmount, Philadelphia, PA 19130 | Map It
  • Phone: 215/236–3300
  • Cost: $12 adult; $10 senior; $8 student/child
  • Hours: Daily 10–5; last entry at 4
  • Website:
  • Location: Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Updated: 05-19-2011

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