Designed by John Haviland and opened on October 25, 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the world’s first true penitentiary. It was operational until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment.
At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide. Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Suttonwere held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. Today, The prison is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which is open to the public as a museum for tours seven days a week, twelve months a year, 10 am to 5 pm.