Although I was only in Philly for under two days (a wedding guest pop-in), I was able to squeeze in a visit to the historic Eastern State Penitentiary. It was at the height of technology and rehabilitation techniques when it originally opened in 1826, but by the 1970s, it was in a great state of disrepair.
Instead of demolishing it after it was no longer fit to be used as a prison, it has been kept open as a historic site, maintaining some sections in rubble. This mix of fixed areas and sections of complete rubble makes for great photographic opportunities.
And guess who happened to be an inmate of this prison? Al Capone. (You can listen to the audio tour for his cell from that link.) Thanks to his status and wealth, he was able to pay a bit extra and get a sweetly kitted-out cell, which the prison has restored to how it was kept while he was an inmate.
Not bad digs. Is it weird that I kind of want my living room to look that way? You know, without the rotting cement wall. That radio on the back wall is just amazing. They even had it playing a waltz when I went by. Made it feel like Al had just stepped out to get some exercise or something.
We ended up doing the audio tour of the place, which has a set tour and then a bunch of side things you can do, if you wanted. It allowed for a lot of wandering, which I loved. The only thing I regret is not being able to do more of the extra areas, since we had to jump in the car and make our way back to Chicago. If we didn't have the road calling us, we would have done the guided tour, which they do at 2pm. Our friend (also a wedding guest at friend's party) did the guided tour the day before and absolutely loved it. So, if you find yourself in Philly, make some time to stop by this amazing historic site. I am really glad we did it before we left town.