By the Numbers

Historic Site

Feb 21, 2012
Eastern State Penitentiary

Opened: 1829
Closed: 1971
Years of Active Use: 142
Architect: John Haviland (1792-1852)
Initial Expense: $770,000 (believed to be second only to the U.S. Capitol in expense of an American building to date)
Floor Plan: Radial (cellblocks meet in the center); also called "Hub and Spoke"

Area: 10.5 acres
Height of Outside Walls: 30+ feet
Width of Outside Walls: 8 feet at the base
Length of Outside Walls: Exactly 1/2 mile
Number of Original Cellblocks: 7
Number of Cellblocks Eventually Built: 15
Number of Cells: 980

Innovations: Indoor plumbing and central heat before the White House
Original Corrective System: "Confinement in solitude with labor"
Name of this New System: The Pennsylvania System
Number of Prisons Inspired by Eastern State Penitentiary: About 320

Year the Pennsylvania System was Officially Abandoned: 1913
Number of Inmates Originally Intended for the Penitentiary: 256
Number of Inmates Held by the 1920s: 1,700
Total Number of Men and Women Who Served Time at ESP: Roughly 75,000
Famous Former Inmates: Willie Sutton (1942-1946); “Pep the Dog” (1924-?); and Al Capone (1929-1930)

Named to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places: 1958
Named a National Historic Landmark: 1965

Property Owned by: The City of Philadelphia
Year Eastern State Opened as a Historic Site: 1994
Number of Visitors in first year of tours (1994): 10,450
Number of Visitors to Historic Site in 2011: 263,812
Historic Site Season: Year-round
Major Special Events: Bastille Day and Terror Behind the Walls (Halloween)

Insiders Call Eastern State: “E.S.P.”
Travel Tips: Dress comfortably; Wear walking shoes (it’s essentially an outdoor tour)

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