Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Bloodiest 47 Acres

Mom, three of my aunts, two cousins, a cousin and her husband and I toured the old Missouri State prison yesterday.

Who let these clowns out? My cousin and her husband.
Our tour guides. The woman worked in administration at the prison.
The new federal court is being built to the side of the old prison. You can see it behind the sign.
Another shot of the prison as a person goes in. The front was built to look intimidating to the prisoners. Officials wanted their prisoners to feel very tiny as they entered.
Our tour guides told us that women were treated horribly in the prison. One woman recounted having her tonsils taken out by another inmate. She nearly bled to death.
This sign discusses rules for a visit. Thank goodness we all had passes to go in and get out.
We were keeping everything clear. We weren't going to get left behind!
Our male tour guide was from Iowa. He said he never believed in ghosts until the time he saw one during a tour he gave at the prison. Down this hallway, he saw a male figure in a white lab coat enter from a hallway on the right and then disappear into the opposite wall. They say his name is Jack Caw. He was a neat prisoner who didn't die at the prison, so why does he choose to stay there?
A unit in one of the oldest sections of the prison. In later years, it housed inmates that were being rehabilitated.
A look inside one of the cells. The paint was chipping very badly in this old section of the prison.
An area I think they called the blind spot. It was an area where they put unruly prisoners. No windows. The small room now serves as a storage area. This section of the prison had no air, just fans. It was pretty warm as we walked through it.
Another section of the prison. Death row was housed at the bottom of this building. Later, they housed death row inmates in the same areas as other prisoners because research indicated these folks behaved just as good/bad as the other inmates.
The pride and joy of the prison. This was where the "honor" prisoners were kept. These folks tended to have good behavior.
A look inside with four levels of cells on each side.
You couldn't really smile in these pictures. It felt out of place.
My cousin, Stephanie.
I threw a riot in my cell.
Wild woman's cell, modeling the old fashioned prison door.
Don't mess with these white gangstas, especially the one with the blue car temporary tatoo.
Soap on a rope anyone?
We were ushered into a dungeon room and the lights were turned off to simulate the experience that prisoners faced when they were locked in these rooms. Bad prisoners were locked away for hours, days, even years at a time. One prisoner went blind. Another went crazy after being doomed in these rooms for 17 years.
Old-fashioned toilet.
Some prisoners painted their cells.
A beautiful painting.
Sonny Liston trained as a boxer during his stay at the prison. Liston became a professional boxer who won the world heavyweight championship in 1962. He played an exhibition game at the prison. You can see a painting of the boxer on the wall.
Walking towards the gas chamber, creepy.
My cousin and her husband in the chairs.
The bucket where the gas pellets were stored.
During our tour, the local fire fighters and SWAT team were training on the grounds. It was a little freaky hearing bullets being fired.
The tour was interesting. The tour guides are not sure if the prison will be saved, or, if it is saved, what sections will remain standing. I'm glad we took the tour while most of it is still intact.

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