Ranked #1 of 11 attractions in Jefferson City
Category: Historic Sites
The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) opened in 1836 along the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri, the...
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.