A VISIT TO THE BIG HOUSE

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The shadows fall within the massive and foreboding stone walls of this ruin of a structure, the forgotten cries of forgotten men merely an echo through time. The sounds of sobbing, of anger, of iron and steel grating as hard and desperate men ( and women) struggled to live out an existance of enforced confinement within the walls of this Philadelphia landmark, The Eastern State Penitentiary are now only a fading memory. According to the official website, ” Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guardtowers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true penitentiary, a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts.” Opened in 1829, the spoke design was one of the most copied buildings in the U.S., and it is estimated that over 300 prisons world-wide are based on the Penitentiary’s “radial” design. After 142 years of use, the Eastern State Penitentiary was abandoned in 1971, left to suffer the ravages of time and the elements. Today the site is operated as a tourist attraction and home to lectures, outreach and art installations. Today, Death Row is silent, except for the moaning and shuffling of lost souls and spirits, and the laughter of children, as they gasp in wonder at the cages that for generations housed some of the nation’s most violent and notorious criminals.PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket<Photobucket

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