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by Bazooka Photo

Virtual tour of Eastern State Penitentiary

Virtual tour of Eastern State Penitentiary

I’ve been wanting to go to Eastern State Penitentiary for a long time… and now I got my chance: shooting a Google virtual tour!


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If you haven’t ever heard of Eastern State Penitentiary, allow me to give you a bit of abbreviated history. It was the world’s first true penitentiary when it opened in 1829. In the 140+ years it was an active penitentiary, it housed many famous criminals, such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. When it closed in the early 1970s, it sat empty and abandoned for 20 years before it was cleaned up and opened for daily tours. Much of the prison is in ruins today…ceilings collapsed, walls crumbling… but it is beautiful in its own way.

I proposed a Google Business Photos shoot to them a few months back and was able to shoot it this past weekend before they opened to visitors on Sunday morning. The weather was perfect and it was definitely one of the most interesting photo shoots I’ve done.

This is also one of the first “multi-floor” Google tours I’ve published. You’ll notice that there is a bar on the left side of the UI with numbers 1 through 7. Each number represents a different area of the facility (click on each number to update the tour above):

Area 1 – Walks from the front door through the path of the basic audio tour available to visitors to the prison, which travels through Cellblock 1 and ends at the north wall on the baseball field.

Area 2 – “The Hole” – a low-ceiling area where very bad people were placed for punishment

Area 3 – Cellblock 14 – a 2-floor cellblock that is generally closed off to visitors

Area 4 – Cellblock 15 – also known as “Death Row”

Area 5 – Al Capone’s cell

Area 6 – The synagogue

Area 7 – Cellblock 7 – another 2-floor cellblock where we are able to climb to the second floor to take a look around.

I hope you enjoy the virtual tour and consider visiting the facility for a real tour. The entire place is 10 acres, so my virtual tour only really scratches the surface.

Here are some of the other photos I took while I was shooting the tour.

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