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(March 18-27, 2011)

Boštjan Burger

Someone had the Courage...

Will Brown

The Al Capone Cell at Eastern State Penitentiary

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

March 27, 2011

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© 2011 Will Brown, All Rights Reserved.

Our theme, Limits, is exemplified by prison life. Near my home in Philadelphia is Eastern State Penitentiary, now an historic landmark and open to the public for tours.  I have shared this site before for the World  Wide Panorama's Time event.

One prisoner there was the notorious Al Capone, a famous Chicago gangster. He dealt in bootlegging, prostitution and other illegal activities during Prohibition. When his involvement with the murder of seven members of a rival gang in the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre became known, he lay low for a while, eventually leaving Chicago.

In 1929 while in Philadelphia, he was arrested on a weapon’s charge and sentenced to a year in Eastern State Penitentiary.

There he had a private cell, in which he was allowed to decorate as he wished.  Here it is, restored, in this panorama.

An article from the Philadelphia Pubic Ledger of 1929 said this about his accommodations there:

“The whole room was suffused in the glow of a desk lamp which stood on a polished desk.... On the once-grim walls of the penal chamber hung tasteful paintings, and the strains of a waltz were being emitted by a powerful cabinet radio receiver of handsome design and fine finish...”

His lawyer and his Chicago cronies visited him often. He was allowed to use the warden’s telephone to conduct business when he wished.

As the legend goes, he was friendly with the warden, outfitted the prison band with instruments and uniforms, and quelled a riot. He was released two months early on good behavior.
The Eastern State Penitentiary website.

Panorama of a restored cell (Cellblock One).

A panoramic view of a unrestored cell (Cellblock Two).

A panoramic view from inside the Guard Tower.

A panoramic view from outside the Guard Tower.

Will Browh Photography
Canon 5D Mark II, Tokina 10-17 @ 14mm, Nodal Ninja 5

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