Aerial views Eastern State Penitentiary

Historical Images of Philadelphia Charles Higgins Negatives
Aerial views Eastern State Penitentiary

Item Info

Item No: pdch00190
Title: Aerial views Eastern State Penitentiary
Creation Date: 9/28/1953
Historic Street Address: 2027 Fairmount Avenue
Historic Street Address: 22nd & Fairmount Avenue
Media Type: Photographic Negatives
Source: Print and Picture Collection

Image taken by Philadelphia Evening Bulletin photographer Charles T. Higgins.  Notes on the negative's envelope read:  "Aerial views Eastern State Penitentiary located at 22nd & Fairmount Ave."

This September 28, 1953, image shows an aerial view of the Eastern State Penitientiary, while it was still an active state prison.  Opened in Philadelphia 1829, it was the first true "penitentiary" in the world, with its radial floorplan and philosophy of solitary confinement as rehabilitation. Called "the Pennsylvania system," it served as a model for prisons worldwide.  This solitary system was abandoned as a failure by 1914, and the prison operated as a congregate prison until it closed in 1971.  The property was bought by the City, and after years of proposals about its future development, it was ultimately reopened in 1994 as a museum and historic site, focusing on the building's history and problems of mass incarceration. 

Geocode Latitude: Geocode Longitude:-75.172655
Geocode Latitude:39.968368

Creator Name: Higgins, Charles - Photographer