The 10 Most Interesting Abandoned Prisons of America

Photo by Raeann Davies at Shutterstock

West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville

Time of Operation: 1876 to 1995
Throughout its history, this State Penitentiary has seen its fair share of violence and death. A large amount of inhumane treatment and dangerous living situations led to the prison getting on a top ten list of most violent correctional facilities by the U.S. Department of Justice. Ninety-four men were executed in this Gothic-style site.

The prison’s electric chair, “Old Sparky,” was built by inmate Paul Glenn and is probably as close to the cliché of “prisoners running the asylum” as you can get. Riots would be nothing new for a prisoner’s or guard’s life at West Virginia Penitentiary. Besides offering tours, today, the prison is also a training facility for law enforcement officials. This place is fascinating, if only just to see the sheer inhumanity of how prisoners were treated.

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