Friday, February 24, 2012

Penitence

Noun

penitence (uncountable)
  1. Condition of being penitent.
  2. Feeling of regret or remorse for doing wrong or sinning.


It was an idea that overtook the prison systems 
 in the early 19th Century in the United States. 
Prisons should become a place that would inspire penitence,  
thus the name Penitentiary. 



In Philadelphia, 
the Eastern State Penitentiary sits like a medieval castle. 




And in its day, it was a state of the art castle! 




The prisoners here had the luxury of 
running water and central heat long before most Americans did, 
even before the man living in the White House! 



The prisoners also enjoyed
skylights and beautiful architectural details! 




Instead of being placed in group cells, 
a prisoner would now have his own cell 
in which to be alone with his thoughts, 
thus enabling penitence. 



The Barber's Chair

The prison was slated for redevelopment after it closed 
in 1970, but later Mayor Wilson Good intervened. 



Today, the prison is considered a historic site and 
operates as a museum. 


 Tons of photographers are
attracted to the deteriorating cells inside the prison walls. 


You could spend hours here! 
If you go, take a tripod and dress for the weather.
2027 Fairmount Avenue  Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-3300

More of my photos from the prison can be seen here.

8 comments:

  1. I was told by our tour guide that the prison is habitually 10 degrees colder than outside. Felt more like 20!

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  2. Thanks for the inspiration, this has been on my list of places to visit, but I never seem to get there!

    Did you read about Philly's Secret garden? http://www.jjtiziou.net/jj/community/philadelphias-secret-garden

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  3. It was very advanced for its day. A penitentiary sounds more the place for rehabilitating prisoners than a gaol.

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  4. It may have had running water and other amenities but it was far from being a spa!

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  5. Interesting from history point of view and a challenge for photographers indeed!

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  6. I sure am glad it wasn't me had to stay there even if it was luxurious for its day.

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  7. sad thing is in many parts of the world people live in places like that now while we have the luxury of calling it a museum

    I love old weathered places and structures that might be haunted but I think I'd find this depressing

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