Missouri State Penitentiary

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Overview
The Missouri State Penitentiary was established in 1833 via a bill passed by the state legislature, and the first prisoner was incarcerated in 1835. Inmates constructed the main prison building from rock quarried at the site in 1836. The penitentiary closed on September 15, 2004, and plans are in place to redevelop the site into offices for state agencies and private enterprises. The Missouri State Penitentiary was once considered one of the largest maximum-security penal institutions in the United States. After 550 serious assaults occurred inside the prison in the early 1960s, Time magazine called it "the bloodiest 47 acres in America" (although the walls of the penitentiary only contained 37 acres). The penitentiary had the distinction of housing some very famous individuals: boxing champion Sonny Liston learned to box there under the direction of the prison chaplain, infamous gangster Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd spent time there, and James Earl Ray was an escapee when he shot and killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Details
ISBN: 9780738590806
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Date:
State: Missouri
Series: Images of America
Images: 180
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
Author
In Images of America: Missouri State Penitentiary, the rich history of the facility is seen through images mostly taken from the holdings of the Missouri State Archives. Arnold G. Parks retired after teaching at Lincoln University for 28 years. He holds faculty rank as professor emeritus of sociology and is the author of two other Arcadia books.