Eastern State Penitentiary

Field trip! At the Philadelphia Center, I have had several opportunities to visit historical landmarks. One interesting place I was able to visit was the Eastern State Penitentiary. We visited this place for my Power and Authority class. When we arrived, we were provided with some background information and told that this was the first real penitentiary in America. It’s practices were inhumane and when visiting I could only imagine the condition of living these inmates had to endure.

Death Row Cell

The regulations the prisoners had to abide by included no speaking at any time, they spent 23 of 24 hours of the day in their cell, they had one single window that provided the only light within their room, the one free hour of the day was in an eight-by-12 plot of land connected to their cell.

The sentences that most people had here lasted one to two years. I cannot imagine going without speaking to anyone for one to two years, and the only book the inmates had to read was the Bible. The youngest prisoner ever brought to this penitentiary was just 10 years old.

Another interesting fact about this place was that Al Capone was sent here and had an eight-month sentence. When you see his cell, you see that he lived in luxury at Eastern State and some say that he was even there to hide out because he was the one rumored to have planned the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. And when police were on his trail, people thought what better place in which to hide out than a penitentiary on the east coast?

Al Capone’s Cell

Seeing parts of history is just a small part of what the city of Philadelphia has to offer. Some other historical landmarks here include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Constitution and many more. If you are looking to get off campus for a semester and have a taste of life after Hanover then Philadelphia is the place for you.

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