Eastern State Penitentiary

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Screams and cries of insanity can still be heard echoing down the halls of Eastern State as men and women were being hooded in order to leave their cells. The faint cries of children can be heard as they were roaming around half clothed in Pennhurst. The cells in Eastern State were surprisingly accommodating considering the circumstances, but they were not someplace a person would call “home”. Life in either of these facilities was nowhere near enjoyable. If someone was not crazy when admitted they soon would become so. The stories and facts behind both these facilities is part of Pennsylvania’s heart and history. This was the beginning of change for the mentally unstable, disabled and criminals. Eastern State Penitentiary was built in Philadelphia…show more content…
Both facilities to this day still have negative stigma that haunts them like a ghost, which brings up the question as to whether these buildings did more harm than good when they were up and running?
Eastern State Penitentiary opened its door in 1829 and soon became the most famous prison in the world. Up until this point prisons were looked at completely differently, but many people were finding that the designs and concepts they currently had for prisons were not working. The National Historic Landmark on Eastern State says “The main design of the building was a Quaker-inspired system of isolation from other prisons with labor. [Also that] Benjamin Rush had come up with the idea of a true penitentiary, a prison mainly designed to create regret and true penitence in a criminal’s heart.” This idea was revolutionary because it set Eastern State apart from any other prison in it’s time period. Eastern State was not just about containing criminals, but the purpose was to modify them causing
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Before he was known for his architecture of Eastern State he had opened his own school of architectural drawing. It was said in “John Haviland Bibliography”, “Haviland got commission from churches, public buildings and private residence to keep his school running. In 1821 the legislature of Pennsylvania authorised a new penitentiary to be built in Philadelphia and Haviland won the competition.” His design completely altered the way many people looked at prisons and the concepts behind them. Haviland was quite the multitasker of his time period because he was not only designing and creating Eastern State, but also, many other prisons around the United States. Haviland was drawing up prison designs for Rhode Island, New York, Virginia and Pittsburgh. Although Haviland’s heart and time seemed to resign in Pennsylvania because most of his projects and time seemed to be spent there. He created the prison in Harrisburg in 1841, another on in Reading in 1849 and finally before his death he was able to see the completion of the Lancaster
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