Eastern Penitentiary and Liberty Bell

The day after the Atlantic City Marathon Debbie and I did a tourist day in Philadelphia before heading home. We toured the Eastern Penitentiary. It was an interesting place to visit but you certainly would not want to live there. Below is a link with the many interesting details and facts. The visuals were stunning and haunting.

This amazing architectural and socially significant institution is nestled into downtown Philadelphia. The link below does the most “justice” in explaining this unique and visually rich building. I highly recommend it on your Philly attraction list.  The above is the central hub with wings going out in several directions. This allowed for very few staff to keep an eye on the halls.


The exterior walls are 35 feet thick.


This link  will provide a much better explanation to understand this very unique place.

The doors into the hallway were added at a later date. There was a small opening for food.  The access was through the courtyard area attached to each cell. Two 1/2 hour daily breaks outside along with work brought to the cell was the daily routine. One book (the Bible) was issued for the duration of the years of the sentence. Many of the prisoners did not know how to read.  A side note- we visited on a magnificent fall day. The temperature in the prison was San Francisco can’t get warm creepy  damp and  chilly. I could not imagine what winter would feel like. The audio tour info said summers were unbearable. How any could make it through multiple years of that plus isolation ?

We took the headphone audio tour as the human guided tour did not match our schedule. I  had a million questions.  If you happen to go try to time a tour so you can get lots more details. There were a few displays with prison reform slanted facts and figures. The tour guides seemed to be law students from a nearby school.

Meanwhile back on the outside here is a great memorial to the black soldiers in WWI.

City Hall.

We had the Bell to ourselves at closing time. It was a great afternoon to swing by Independence Hall.

Sadly, this was Philly Lite. So much to see and a plane to catch back to Florida. Did you know that Philadelphia designates a portion of every construction project to public art and has the most public art of any city in the world ?

We will finish with some Ben Franklin since he got a lot of the Philly party started.

Ben Franklin Wisdom

Make it your best day.


5 thoughts on “Eastern Penitentiary and Liberty Bell

  1. Nancy:

    At the end of my 6 years of living in PA (2 in the Jesuit Novitiate near Reading & 4 at the University of Scranton), I spent the summer of 1965 on Skid Row in Philadelphia at St. John’s Mission on Race Street.

    I also had the chance to tour the Philadelphia State Mental Hospital with all its similarly gruesome characteristics, including walking among about a 100 patients all intermingling in a large day-room gymnasium-type setting.

    Thanks for the link—I sent it to our Michigan Jail ministry guys, too.

    LUV ya & glad U both R home,


    Liked by 1 person

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