The prison was founded in 1829. It was in use for 142 years, closing in 1971. At one time, the penitentiary was the most expensive buildings in the United States. The Wagon wheel floor plan was the model used to reform criminals. This model focused on the strict isolation of the prisoners. There are 300 prisons over four continents that have since adopted this model. The location is also known for its grand architecture.
There are various options to consider when planning a visit for the group. These may include but are not limited to hands-on history demonstrations, interactive audio voice tours, and observing exhibits in the prison Museums. These three tours are included in the cost of admission. Hands-On history tours involve group participation. They are offered in the regular season but can also be booked in the winter months. These demonstrations are shorter in length usually five minutes or less.
One possible choice is for you to learn how to unlock an escape-proof iron cell door. During the audio tour, your group will be provided with an Mp3 player and headset. You will find an audio guide to help you through the complex. Listen to guards, wardens, and inmates that describe their prison experiences. This will enhance the walkthrough for the group tour immensely! The penitentiary has housed some famous prisoners. These include Willie Sutton and Al Capone. While touring the location your group will be able to see Capone’s restored 19th-century cell, hear stories of inmate escapes, and marvel at the exquisite art installations. There is also an annual tour for your group to consider called “Behind Terror Walls.” This is offered in the fall. Winter Adventure Tours are also available for the group to enjoy as well.