Check out before-after photos of the first penitentiary in the U.S.For many people, tourists and locals alike, Eastern State Penitentiary is known for transforming into a glorified haunted house every Halloween. But the colossal Gothic Revival prison in Fairmount is steeped in history, too. When it opened in 1829 it became one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world and the first penitentiary in the country.
But while people first flocked to Philadelphia to see this immense architectural feat, Eastern State Penitentiary eventually closed in 1971. Today, the historic landmark is open for daily tours year-round and nightly tours during the Halloween season.
Here, take a trip down memory lane to see how much (or little) the penitentiary has changed over the years, all while learning a little more about the prison’s history.