Missouri State Penitentiary
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Decommissioned in 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary is now open to the public for hard hat tours. Before it closed, MSP was the oldest continually operating penitentiary west of the Mississippi. The prison was 100 years old when Alcatraz began taking inmates. When this prison opened in 1836, the Battle of the Alamo was going on in Texas and Andrew Jackson was in his second term. The tour showcases cells including those of famous inmates such as heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, who learned to box during his time in the big house, and James Earl Ray. Other stops on the tour are the gas chamber where 40 men and women were executed, the buried cells, several housing units and the upper yard. In 1967 the Missouri State Penitentiary was infamously named the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time magazine because of the incredibly high number of serious assaults on the grounds between 1963-1964. A variety of tours are available including history tours, ghost tours and specialty tours. Visit http://www.missouripentours.com/tourdesc/ for a list and description of available tours.
Advanced reservations are required. Visit www.MissouriPenTours.com or call Sheila at the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau for available tour times.