Frank Zouloufos photo of the Western Penitentiary posted on Facebook. It was the first prison west of the Atlantic Plain as well as a major Civil War prison in 1863–1864.
On January 26 2017, Governor Tom Wolf announced the closing of this facility Western Penitentiary was originally built in 1826 a few blocks east of the current facility by the architect Strickland.
During Charles Dickens visit to the city March 20-22 1842, he visited the original prison and some scholars believe he based the classic A Christmas Carol on conditions at the facility.

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