Industrial Building Stabilization

he Industrial Building in 1907, the year it was added to the Eastern State Penitentiary complex.
The Industrial Building in January 2001.
Catholic Services meet on the second floor of the Industrial Building, circa 1955.
The second floor was once used for meetings, musical concerts, to show movies, and for religious services.
The new Industrial Building roof, which was completed in December of 2002.
2003, $90,000
Status: Complete

Critical stabilization of a free-standing building on the western side of the complex. The building offers both conference and exhibit space, and holds income potential through rentals.

The Industrial Building is a two-story, freestanding stone structure, constructed in 1907. It held the laundry and commissary services on the first floor, and the second floor was used for a variety of prison activities, including religious services, movies, concerts, and as a gymnasium.

It’s a wonderful building. The first floor--where remnants of the prisoners’ laundry operation still remain--is completely open, with decorative cast iron columns. It would make an ideal exhibition space. The second floor is always a surprise to the first-time visitor. It contains an amazing exposed truss system, and the huge chamfered beams are consistent with the building’s collegiate gothic construction, complete with dovetailing and lambs’ tongues. The trusses are decorated with elaborate hand-painted detailing, one of the site’s few decorated architectural features. Some of these architectural details can be seen in the historic photographs included here.

The Industrial Building will play a crucial role in the long-term development of the historic site. Eastern State was designed, after all, to prohibit groups of people from gathering. But the Industrial Building will be a perfect place for mounting exhibits, for use as a small conference center, or for films, lectures, educational programming and performances. And it will produce rental income.

The building was in critical condition in 2001. The roof had begun to collapse, leaving a twenty-foot hole across the west side. Rain poured in.

The 2001 appeal helped raise $90,000, funding a new tongue and groove roofing system (exposed on the interior) and a twenty-year rubber membrane roof. It was completed in December of 2002!

Funded by: Eastern State Penitentiary Board of Directors, Senator Vincent J. Fumo, 2001 Annual Appeal, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission Grant.

You can help!

You can help save this National Historic Landmark. Visit our Membership page to find out how.