Urban Exploring – USA Pennsylvania Prison and its Hangman Trapdoor

Urban Exploring – USA Pennsylvania Prison and its Hangman Trapdoor

This was our final stop on my mini exploration around the USA over three days with Shannon and Karen, it was just hours before my flight home, but on the long drive back from West Virginia to NYC we decided to stop off at this abandoned prison in Pennsylvania, It was built in 1907 then closed in 1979.

It is very intimidating and in a rough rough part of town we approached with caution, we found an entry point we began our explore of the prison, it wasn’t long before I was face to face with line and line of cells, all rusting and with peeling paint, each cell was so small, I went inside one and could almost touch from wall to wall, inside each one was a toilet and a bunk bed. It hard to imagine spending a life in such place, in such solitude as I pushed the cell door open peeling paint fell to the floor, crumbling into a pile on the cold floor as I walked around it crunched under my feet, many years of peeling paint lay in that floor.

In the 1950’s conditions were terrible with overcrowding and inmates treated badly, unsanitary condition and segregation of  white and black Americans were being operated even though segregation had ended, cells became crammed and when beds weren’t available tiny padded cells were used, there are even stories that inmates were feed dead animals found on the road outside. Inside there is a gallows area where hanging would take place, so many lives were lost inside the fortress, its hard not to hear the whispers of ghosts that were once trapped inside the tiny cells.

As we drove back to the airport I knew I would be returning to the USA to explore again for a more extended period and am ecstatic that Shannon is up for part two.


Shot with Mamiya 645DF+ Body & Leaf Credo 80 Digital Back, Schneider Kreuznach 80mm f2.8 LS Lens.

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