Photo Dump: Eastern State Penitentiary

These images were taken in 2008. They are of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The old and disused prison is an imposing structure — a fortress plopped down in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The prison is older than the neighborhood which grew up around it, but that doesn’t make a bit of difference to how out of place it feels.

These photos, although they are of a decayed building, do not qualify as urban exploration. The prison exists in a state of intentional, arrested decay, and is administered as a museum. I paid to get in, as can anyone else who shows up during regular hours. It’s not really urbex if trespassing isn’t involved.

My father used to live just over a block away. He moved to the neighborhood back in the 1980s, and the prison was truly abandoned at that time. Back then, the grounds were overgrown, burnt-out cars left on the street, or sidewalk, beside the towering walls were a regular sight, and the prison was open to anyone who wanted to walk on in. It’s a small regret that the old man and I never explored the prison beyond taking a quick peek inside, but these pics from twenty years later make up some for that.