379 votes

Missouri State Penitentiary

115 Lafayette St, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101 USA

  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Not Wheelchair
  • Public
  • Outdoor
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“The bloodiest 47 acres in America”

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 decomissioned in 2004. 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. Visitwww.MissouriPenTours.com for a list and description of available tours. Advanced reservations are required and can be made online or by calling (866)998-6998. Tour season runs March - November, weather permitting. Come "Get Locked Up" at the Missouri State Penitentiary!

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
July 12, 2014
Rated 5.0

It was awesome. Very interesting. We bought the book.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 05, 2014

Awesome day your! Very informative and interesting! Mark the tour guide was great! A big plus souvenirs are inexpensive and still nice!

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
November 23, 2014
Rated 5.0

I was working in town from out of state and decided to do an evening Ghost Walk tour. (I then came back to do a daytime history tour the following day.) There's much to be said about the history, and it is rather fun to photograph. The evening tour that I took allowed you to tour three of the buildings, plus the execution chamber. Rather than explain to you the details and try and convince you to visit (on that note, you should visit, it's awesome, and that's all that needs to be said regarding that) I would prefer to give you an idea of what tour you want to ask for based on what you would prefer to see. Firstly, both tour guides I experienced were former prison guards, and their perspectives and stories made the tour worth taking twice. Secondly, the evening ghost tour allowed you to tour both the women's cell block and death row, which were omitted from the day history tour. Death row was interesting, and the added ambiance of them shutting off the lights and leaving you in the dark for a moment certainly gave you a moment of solitude to digest where you were standing. The day tour lacks death row (you still tour the gas chamber) however, compensates in a more detailed history of the site. The website explains what tours offer what sights, so I would certainly recommend checking there over taking the word of this review as a promise as to what you will see. Both tours last roughly two hours, and given the expansive grounds, the matter that you can explore the cells and question the former guards about their experiences, it's not a terrible idea to consider going twice.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Ramona Clark

  • 11 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
September 06, 2019

Due to storm damage, the tours are cancelled at this time. Looks like tornado damage to this building and surrounding homes as well as the capitol rotunda. 9/5/19

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 06, 2019
Rated 5.0

Interesting place to stop

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Missouri State Penitentiary

115 Lafayette St
Jefferson City, Missouri
65101 USA

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Outdoor Seating
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Parking, Dining

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