Buying Time for Eastern State

Imagination at the right time and at the right place can make a difference - sometimes all the difference.

Back in 1988, no one could foresee much of a future for Eastern State Penitentiary, then an abandoned and defunct prison. But two special people, one in government and the other in philanthropy, imagined, acted, and re-made history on Fairmount Avenue.

One these people was former Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode. The other was Ella King Torrey.

We recently learned the very sad news of Ella's death. She will be remembered for many things, most famously the Pew Fellowships in the Arts,which buys time for artists and writers. But Ella should also be remembered for a specific act of vision in 1988, when she bought time for this abandoned landmark. [Read more...]

Joel Rose, Producer and Editor
Viet Le, Rachael Berenguer and Jennifer Lynn, Associate Producers
Elisabeth Perez-Luna, Executive Producer
Kenneth Finkel, Executive Director, Arts & Culture Service

Funding was provided by The William Penn Foundation.

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Marking Pennsylvania History

ExplorePAHistory.comEastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary is known mostly for its annual Halloween festivities, and its one-time inmate, Al Capone. But it was once the most famous prison in the world. In our continuing series on historic markers in the Philadelphia area, WHYY's Joel Rose visits Eastern State Penitentiary, a 19th century experiment in prison design. [Listen]

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