Roaming Reporter: Missouri State Penitentiary


Rylea Sanning

Once known as “The Bloodiest 47 acres in America” the Missouri State Penitentiary was decommissioned in 2004, but was operated from 1836 till 2004. Up until its closing, it was the oldest and largest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi, once housing 4,900 criminals. A part of the Missouri Department of Corrections, it served as the state of Missouri’s primary maximum security institution. The state penitentiary has several housing units, and in 1967 the Missouri State Penitentiary was infamously named the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time Magazine because of the extraordinarily high number of serious assaults on the grounds between 1963 and 1964.

Today, public history and paranormal tours are available to showcase the prison’s grisly past. Reservations are recommended, and groups of 25 or more can book a private tour.  These tours include viewings of the cells of famous inmates such as heavyweight champion Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray, and the prison’s gas chamber where 40 men and women were executed.

Personally, I liked the tour myself when I went its unique for all ages, and fitting for a new look on Jefferson City; I would recommend the Missouri State Penitentiary tour to anyone. The Penitentiary is Located at 115 Lafayette St, in Jefferson City MO 65101.