Fujifilm X100s – 1/500 @ f/5.6 – ISO 200
This is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. It is an imposing Brownstone structure that was just across the road from a hotel we were staying in on a recent trip the city of Philadelpia.
It is also one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen. I do have a soft spot for any sort of brownstone building such as the older apartments in Brooklyn and NYC but this cathedral is just a spectacular example of brownstone construction. As you can see from the plaque it is also a very old structure.
The carvings and details on this building are really incredible, and the pictures really do not do justice to this magnificent cathedral.
Here is a night view from our hotel balcony at the Embassy Suites at Center City Philadelphia.
I hope you enjoy.
All photos taken with a Fujifilm X100s
In this section of the prison we will visit the Hospital wing. Back in the days when this prison was operational the doctors were brought here to perform surgery rather than transporting dangerous prisoners to local hospitals.
This is the entry door to the surgical suite and it was so deteriorated with the peeling paint I had to take a photo of it.
This is the operating room light and above it is a skylight which the doctors used for surgery before there was electricity. “Scarface” Al Capone had his tonsils removed in this operating room suite.
And speaking of Al Capone this was his cell. He was arrested and brought here on weapons charges and spent one year in this cell. It was said that he knew the warden and was allowed some comforts which other prisoners were not allowed.
I don’t know this cell looks fairly similar to the other inmates cells, LOL.
On our way out of the prison my wife and I couldn’t help but think of what prison life must have been like in this facility when it was operational.
Some light reflecting through an arch top door on our way out.
I hope you enjoyed this short trip through this historical facility. If you are within driving distance of this prison I would strongly suggest visiting and maybe purchasing some T-shirts or other memorabilia that is on sale at the gift shop. It will certainly go a long way towards providing the much needed funds it takes to restore this magnificent facility.
For those of you into paranormal activity here is a link – http://www.hauntingamerica.com/eastern-state-penitentiary/
This is the main guard tower and all areas of the prison are visible from this area.
There are also auxiliary guard towers in each corner of the prison with spotlights.
Some cells accessible from the exterior of the cell blocks. All of the cells in this penitentiary are solitary confinement and this is what’s known as “The Pennsylvania System” and it originated here. The “Auburn System” eventually superseded the “Pennsylvania System” because it was determined to be more humane.
These are some of the deteriorating benches around the perimeter walls that face towards the baseball diamond.
I am not quite sure but I think this portion of the prison was the laundry where some of the prisoners worked.
The thickness of these stone walls (even interior) were incredible and its hard to imagine trees growing through them, but they did.
In this post we will continue to a multi level cell block number 7.
The above photo shows the lower level of cell block 7 which is still being restored.
Some of the lucky inmates on lower levels of the prison (depending on the cell block) had a small skylight which provided them with a bit of daylight while they were in there cells.
This is a view from the upper portion of cell block 7.
As you can see from the angle of this view there was only enough room to walk single file when exiting the upper cell blocks. Also notice the different kind of cell doors from the older cell blocks (this cell block was a later addition).
The above photo shows a cell with trees growing through the walls which would eventually force the closing of this facility. Apparently the states neglect of this facility would cause it to be overrun with trees forcing their way through walls weakening the structure.
This is one of the deteriorating windows on one of the lower cell blocks.
With this post I will show you some of the unrestored portions of this eerie facility.
Some of the original and bed frames still exist as shown in the above photo. The plaster in this cell is actually in fairly good shape compared to some portions of this facility.
An original old cabinet sits on the wall of the corridor of cell block 1 and was probably used for washrags or towels for the inmates.
Old cast iron ornate radiators still grace the corridors also.
The inmates in the cells had exposed pipe radiators and cement toilets which were flushed by filling up a pail and pouring it down the toilet. They were only allowed one flush a day so you could only imagine what these cell blocks smelled like on hot humid days. It is interesting to note that this prison was so advanced for it’s time that it had running water and central heat before the White House did.
This is a view down cell block 2 and you can clearly see the deterioration of this crumbling facility.
Some shadows from the overhead windows shining on the distressed plaster.
For the next two and a half days I will be posting images I had taken at the Eastern State Penitentiary, on a recent trip to Philadelphia. There will be five posts total including this one with multiple photos. Eastern State was the worlds first true penitentiary and it was designed to inspire true regret for its inmates. Eastern State was operational from 1829 to 1971 and has held some of Americas most notorious criminals including “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone. Currently the prison is being restored a little at a time and is run by donations. If anyone is in the Philadelphia area or plans to visit this area this prison should be one of top the places on your list to visit. It is also the prison that was featured in the television show “Ghost Hunters” because it is said to be haunted.
Here is a link for a more complete history – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_State_Penitentiary
As you pass through the iron gate you are immediately faced with a feeling of regret and being well contained.
Faced with the high stone walls and guard towers there is very little chance of escape. From here on you will be watched constantly.
As we enter into cell block 1 you will notice the lack of traditional bars. These are what they called escape proof cells.
Each inmate had is own cell and this was designed so that they would have loads of time to reflect on whatever crime or bad deed they had committed (sort of like solitary confinement only with daylight).
The above photo reflects a completely restored cell as it would be back in the days when this prison was operational.
In this afternoons post I will show some of the unrestored sections of this facility in part two.