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“Interesting Tour of Missouri's Old Pen” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Missouri State Penitentiary

Missouri State Penitentiary
115 Lafayette St., Jefferson City, MO 65101
866-998-6998
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Type: Historic Sites
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Attraction Details
Owner description: The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) opened in 1836 along the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capital. The prison housed inmates for 168 years and was the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi until it was decommissioned in 2004. The prison was already 100 years old when Alcatraz began taking inmates.The Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau now offers a wide variety of tours at the site, once named the "bloodiest 47 acres in America" by Time magazine. Visitors can choose to take a History or Ghost Tour, among others, and will walk through several incredibly historic housing units, the vast upper yard of the property and the gas chamber, where 40 men and women were executed. The tour also showcases cells of infamous inmates such as Sonny Liston, who learned to box during his time in the big house and James Earl Ray, who escaped from MSP before assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.
Kansas City, Missouri
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Interesting Tour of Missouri's Old Pen”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2012

Fun to see the inside of the prison and hear the history from an old warden. Hope they develop the site and continue the tours. This would be a great film location, if Missouri still had a film commission to promote it.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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81 reviews from our community

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English first
Marshall, MO
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A fun time”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

It was interesting and informative. I wish the state of Missouri would do more to preserve it. The money collected goes into general revenue and that is a shame as it is something that should be preserved.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bainbridge Is WA
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Historic Prison. Mothballed. GREAT tours!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

This prison once served ALL of the western territories. Those wild west outlaws who were not hanged, were sent to this prison. Our tour guide was a former warden. The tales he told made history come alive. He talked about notorious inmates, including Sonny Liston. Told a very funny story about attempt to provided salad bar for prisoners. It was quickly removed, before prisoners reported for lunch, because staff discovered the bar was actually an autopsy table!

The buildings are interesting.Execution facility. Sit in the chair, if you wish.
The stories are are priceless. One of the BEST tours...considering I've visited several countries and states.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Braunfels, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Worth the Trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

We were part of the 2 hour History Tour of the Missouri State Pennitentiary and while on the tour wished we had signed up for the 3 hour tour. Our tour guide was a former Warden, can't get any better than that. His knowledge and history was wonderful and the 2 hours went by quickly. It is not the typical touristy sight, but the history of this 175 year old facility is amazing. During our tour we saw 2 cell blocks, the dungeons, and the gas chamber. Regrettably due to lack of funds the facility has been affected by lack of maintenance and weather, but you can still close your eyes and imagine how it was. Truely imagine is all I would want to do. They also have ghost tours in the evening. Well worth your time and while in town don't miss the Capital Building tour. It is very impressive. The artwork is amazing. If you go, hope you enjoy.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, Georgia
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
39 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“An amazing tour.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

Eerie, spooky, odd, enlightening, scary, strange, weird, unusual......you get the idea.
The tour guides are either former employees or friends of employees and know a great deal about the place and are more than happy to share what they know. This jail held, among thousands of others, Sonny Liston, James Earl Ray, "Pretty Boy" Floyd, and a long list of nationally known criminals. Actually standing in the room where people were put to death is a chilling experience.
The docents also touch on the history of imprisonment in the US and that is very educational.
The history of the building is simply stunning and you really wonder if you would want to hear what those walls would say could they talk.
DO NOT GO IF YOU ARE CLAUSTROPHOBIC!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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