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By the Numbers 2017

By the Numbers 2017

March 27, 2017

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:     9.8 acres (within and including the prison walls)

Height of Outside Walls:     30 feet

Width of Outside Walls:   10 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:   About 1,000

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:    More than 300

Year the Pennsylvania System was Officially Abandoned:     1913
Number of Inmates Originally Intended for the Penitentiary:    250

Number of Inmates Held by the 1930s:     More than 1,800

Total Number of Men and Women Who Served Time at ESP:   Roughly 80,000

Famous Former Inmates:    

Willie Sutton (1934-1945);  “Pep the Dog” (1924-c. 1927);  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

Historic Site Season:     Year-round

Insiders Call Eastern State:  “E.S.P.”


2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner