Missouri State Penitentiary
The Missouri State Penitentiary is a former prison located in Jefferson City. It was in operation from 1836-2004 and as such was the oldest prison still in use in the state until it closed. Over time, buildings were added to the 47 acre site; the Warden's House, built in 1868, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The prison housed several high profile inmates such as James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King in 1968. At its peak, the prison housed 5,200 inmates. It is open for tours and operates a museum located the corner of High and Jefferson streets.
Backstory and Context
As a result of the numerous murders that took place in the prison, Time Magazine dubbed it "bloodiest 47 acres" in the country. Riots occurred as well. The most notable one began early in the morning on September 22, 1954 and lasted a full 24 hours or so before authorities, and the National Guard were able to fully subdue the inmates.