Esmonde Photography by Patrick Esmonde.

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Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania


This historic landmark in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia is one of the most impressive sights in town. Self-described as a "stabilized ruin", this former prison is now open to the public for seeing what prison would have been like back then.

Opened in 1829 as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through "confinement in solitude with labor," Eastern State Penitentiary quickly became one of the most expensive and most copied buildings in the young United States. It is estimated that more than 300 prisons worldwide are based on the Penitentiary's wagon-wheel, or "radial" floor plan.

Some of America's most notorious criminals were held in the Penitentiary's vaulted, sky-lit cells, including bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone. After 142 years of consecutive use, Eastern State Penitentiary was completely abandoned in 1971, and now stands, a lost world of crumbling cell blocks and empty guard towers.



Supply Closet gone south :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
honeymoon suite :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
prisoner cell nightstand 2 :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
prisoner cell nightstand 1 :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
root in wall study :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
Lonely light and root :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
Grate Color Study :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
Ready for a haircut? :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography
Cell Block Hallway 3 :: Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania :: © 2006 Patrick Esmonde of Esmonde Photography


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