In last year’s Halloween episode, Haunted Happenings, listeners were given just a tease about Eastern State Penitentiary. I waited almost a year to offer up a full length episode about one of America’s most historic, innovative, architecturally significant and haunted prisons in the country.
In the late 1700s, the Philadelphia Prison Society had dreams of creating the gold standard for prisons based on the philosophy that a truly penitent man could gain redemption of his soul, and rehabilitation, through thoughtful isolation. Thus began a 40 year journey among the prison society, corrections inspetors, and Pennsylvania legislature to create a unique, model prison system – Eastern State Penntentary.
Most prisons in the 19th century were modeled after Eastern State, and for all it’s glory and grandeur, the Pennsylvania System – a system of penitent isolation – was doomed. By 1966 the prison was in a complete state of disrepair. Over 20 years later the city was ready to tear it down for redevelopment until a task force stepped in, preserving the history, the legacy that is Eastern State Penitentiary.
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