The “Eye of God” – Eastern State Penitentiary

A typical cell at Eastern State Penitentiary.

A typical cell at Eastern State Penitentiary showing the “Eye of God”

Imagine the only daylight you saw for 23 hours a day, came through a single small skylight in the roof of your cell and you had no contact with other people (either other inmates or even the prison guards).  Imagine that every single time you were led out of your cell, you had a hood over your head so that you couldn’t see any part of the building that you were in.  This was the way life was for inmates at Eastern State Penitentiary when it was first built in 1821.

In each cell, the “Eye of God” (suggesting to the prisoners that God was always watching them), a single glass skylight placed on a slanted wall near the rear of the cell, provided the only daylight into the cell for the inmates.

I can’t imagine what being incarcerated in this prison must have been like (I really can’t imagine what being incarcerated in any prison would be like, but I know I wouldn’t like it one bit).

Until the next adventure…

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