Philadelphia is famous for its many historic buildings; Independence Hall, Betsy Ross’s home, the Declaration House, and the Franklin Institute are just a few of the many historic landmarks in “the city of brotherly love.” However, most people don’t think about another of Philadelphia’s historic buildings: Eastern State Penitentiary. From Al Capone’s stay in solitary confinement to the rumored hauntings, the Eastern State Penitentiary is a must-see for anyone with an interest in the macabre.
Built in 1829, the Eastern State Penitentiary covers 11 acres in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It has a radial design, with Gothic architecture reminiscent of European cathedrals (this was meant to intimidate the prisoners). As a penitentiary rather than a prison, it emphasized reform rather than punishment—prisoners were kept in solitary confinement as a form of rehabilitation. Once America’s largest and most expensive public structure, the penitentiary was closed in 1970, and fell into ruin. Now, this landmark structure is open to the public as a historical museum, although it remains in a state of disrepair.
Visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary is a great activity for those with car rentals. Tours are offered daily during both the summer and the winter. From December to March, guides take visitors on a one-hour tour through the complex. On this tour, you’ll see Death Row, the center surveillance hub, marks left by inmates, and even gangster Al Capone’s prison cell (you might be surprised by how comfortable it looks!).
If you’re visiting Pennsylvania during the summer, you’ll be able to choose between the guided tour and the audio tour, and autumn visitors with a taste for terror will enjoy the yearly haunted house attraction. The Eastern State Penitentiary has been featured on several paranormal investigation TV shows, and is rumored to be the most haunted place in America.
Eastern State Penitentiary is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the week, tours are offered at noon, 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.; on weekends, they’re offered hourly. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children, although the tour isn’t recommended for children under the age of seven. Parking for your car rental is available on the streets surrounding the penitentiary, or in a nearby parking garage for $10.
If you’re looking for a way to get to the Eastern State Penitentiary when you visit Philadelphia, look no further than Orthodox Auto Rental. In addition to our car rentals, our salvage yard supplies used auto parts to Philly car owners, and if you’re looking to get rid of your old car, our junk yard will purchase it from you. Contact us at (215) 332-3520 to learn more about our car rental services, and at (215) 332-3500 for our auto parts and junk yard.