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Missouri State Penitentiary

 

The Missouri State Penitentiary,  in Jefferson City, Missouri,  operated from 1836-2004.  Part of the Missouri Department of Corrections, it served as the state of Missouri's primary maximum security institution. Before the prison closed in 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was the oldest operating penal facility west of the Mississippi—it was already 98 years old when Alcatraz opened in San Francisco. The prison’s often-inhumane conditions earned it the title of “bloodiest 47 acres in America” in a 1967 TIME Magazine article.

Missouri State Penitentiary

The Missouri State Penitentiary,  in Jefferson City, Missouri,  operated from 1836-2004.  Part of the Missouri Department of Corrections, it served as the state of Missouri’s primary maximum security institution. Before the prison closed in 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was the oldest operating penal facility west of the Mississippi—it was already 98 years old when Alcatraz opened in San Francisco. The prison’s often-inhumane conditions earned it the title of “bloodiest 47 acres in America” in a 1967 TIME Magazine article.

  • Opened in 1836
  • Housed 5200 inmates at its peak,
  • Once the largest prison in the U.S.
  • Sonny Liston: Learned to box at MSP and went on to become Heavyweight Champion
  • James Earl Ray: Escaped from MSP before assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 100 Years Older than Alcatraz
  • Received its first inmate in 1836; the same year, month and day that the Battle of the Alamo was fought
  • Oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi River
  • Served Missouri for 168 years; from 1836-2004
  • 40 inmates put to death in the gas chamber between 1937-1989
  • Bonnie Heady only woman to be executed in the gas chamber in a double execution alongside Carl Hall for the Greenlease killing
  • Last execution at MSP carried out in 1989. Tiny Mercer put to death in Gas Chamber by lethal injection

The Missouri State Penitentiary,  in Jefferson City, Missouri,  operated from 1836-2004.  Part of the Missouri Department of Corrections, it served as the state of Missouri's primary maximum security institution. Before the prison closed in 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was the oldest operating penal facility west of the Mississippi—it was already 98 years old when Alcatraz opened in San Francisco. The prison’s often-inhumane conditions earned it the title of “bloodiest 47 acres in America” in a 1967 TIME Magazine article.

Admission & Hours

The Missouri State Penitentiary is only accessible by taking a tour, they do have special photography tours.  Pricing varies by the tour and length, I did a private group photography tour that lasted 3 hours for a cost of $40 per person.  Click here for current tours and pricing information.

Important Tour information

  • No wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches. Many people have gone on the tour using a cane without problem. Since the property was built in 1836, it is not ADA accessible.
  • Cameras are welcome.
  • We have reasonably priced souvenirs. Most have been made by the inmates.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Sandals are not recommended.
  • If raining, bring umbrellas. We keep you in the buildings longer and the prison takes on a whole different look when weather is gloomy and dark rather than bright and sunny.
  • Dress for the weather. There is no heat or air conditioning in the prison.
  • Everyone must stay with the group at all times. The exception is if some do not want to tour the gas chamber or the underground dungeon cells. No one is ever forced to go somewhere they choose not to go.
  • Waiver and Release Liability form will be sent with your confirmation e-mail. We ask that you sign before the tour and hand it to the tour assistant before the tour starts.
  • For those under 18, a parent or guardian must sign the Waiver and Release Liability form for the child. Without this signed release, the child will not be allowed on the tour. See descriptions for age requirements.
  • * No one will be allowed entry without a paid ticket and a signed Waiver and Release Liability form.

The Missouri State Penitentiary,  in Jefferson City, Missouri,  operated from 1836-2004.  Part of the Missouri Department of Corrections, it served as the state of Missouri's primary maximum security institution. Before the prison closed in 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was the oldest operating penal facility west of the Mississippi—it was already 98 years old when Alcatraz opened in San Francisco. The prison’s often-inhumane conditions earned it the title of “bloodiest 47 acres in America” in a 1967 TIME Magazine article.

What to Photograph:

You will be able to photograph inside and outside of the prison.  Inside the prison is quite dark and a tripod is recommended.

Getting There:

The prison and the tours are right in downtown Jefferson City MO, just a few blocks east of the capitol building at 115 Lafayette St.

 

Maps:

Interactive Google Map

Use the map  + – controls to zoom in and out, click and drag the to move the map, use the Map drop-down to change to “Map”, “Satellite”, “Hybrid”, or “Terrain” views.  Drag the little man icon from the upper left corner to a map location for street level view.

 

Location Contact Information:

 Missouri State Penitentiary
115 Lafayette St
Jefferson City , MO 65101
Toll Free: 866.998.6998
Phone: 573.632.2820

Links

http://www.missouripentours.com/

 

Nearest City or Town:

 Jefferson City Missouri

Missouri State Penitentiary Photo Gallery

Click Here for full page gallery

More Photographic Destinations in Missouri:

Interactive Google Map

Use the map  + – controls to zoom in and out, use the Map drop-down to change to “Map”, “Satellite”, “Hybrid”, or “Terrain” views.  Drag the little man icon from the upper left corner to a map location for street level view. Click on a pushpin for more information about the Photographic Destination, then click on the title to go to the location page.

Click Here for Photographic Destinations by State

 

 Greg Disch is a freelance photographer located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Greg specializes in nature, scenic, wildlife, and other outdoor subjects in Arkansas and other areas of the country. Greg also shoots portraits and event photography and is available for assignments.  Greg teaches photography classes and workshops in Arkansas and other locations.  Most of the images on this site are available for sale as prints, personal use, or rights managed stock photos.

 

 


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Greg Disch
479-414-6889
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