One of the original cell blocks at the closed Iowa State Penitentiary
Prison Tours

Abandoned 178-Year-Old Iowa State Penitentiary Opens for Public Prison Tours to Raise Money

Abandoned 178-year-old Iowa State Penitentiary will be open for touring from October 7-8. The objective of the public prison tours is to raise private investment funds.

Old Fort Madison State Penitentiary
Old Fort Madison State Penitentiary

The funds will be used to prepare a report that the government can rely on for a decision on passing off the facility to private investors.

A tour around the facility was carried out in May and a massive number of tourists flooded the facility.

The next tour will be to raise between $150,000 and $200,000. Adults will be charged $15 and children under the age of 12 will donate non-perishable foods to the pantry.

Interested tourists can purchase their tickets online.

A History of Beauty and Sadness Within Ancient Prison Walls

Inside Old Fort Madison State Penitentiary
Inside Old Fort Madison State Penitentiary

The historic Iowa State Penitentiary was constructed in 1839. Prisoners had constructed the facility while guards watched over them – long before Iowa became a state.

Many things have happened within its walls in its 178 years history.

The National Register of Historic Places states this was the oldest continuously operating prison in the US.

Inmates of all shades had passed through the walls of Iowa State Penitentiary, lived and died there. And, hundreds of prison workers and employees had worked their all their lives and then moved on.

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Old Iowa State Penitentiary is now completely empty of prisoners and workers and a ghost of its former self. The government is debating on whether to hand it out to a non-profit organization for further development. Its main aim is to preserve the prison and its rich past history. Is it haunted? Read More Here -> Iowa State Penitentiary Haunted

To this extent, its disused buildings might become a historical attraction, or be used for education or converted to business purposes. But, on October 7th and 8th, it will be used to raise funds through public prison tours.

Old Fort Madison Inmate Wall Sadness
Old Fort Madison Inmate Wall Sadness

Public Prison Tours: The Mystique Behind Iowa State Penitentiary

People of Deviant Behaviors Were either Reformed or Created There

One of the original cell blocks at the closed Iowa State Penitentiary
One of the original cell blocks at the closed Iowa State Penitentiary

Iowa code states that state-owned historical structures must be maintained. But, Iowa Department of Corrections does not have the money to fund its maintenance, hence the planned tour.

One of the former employees at the facility noted that a lot happened within the prison facility.

He said the prison spoke of correctional methods and the crimes committed by its inhabitants. Communities formed within its walls, and people of deviant behaviors were either reformed or created there.

The disused Iowa State Penitentiary boasts of:

  • Numbered cell blocks
  • Chow hall and even hanging gallows where executions took place
  • Gymnasium floor and other recreational facilities
READ RELATED POSTS  Come in Contact With Ghosts of Executed Inmates at a Haunted Prison

As of now, the abandoned 178-year-old Iowa State Penitentiary is a history waiting to be rewritten in another form.

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Old Fort Madison State Penitentiary

Charles Omedo
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.