21st Street & Fairmount Ave., with a view of the front entrance
When Eastern State opened in 1829, it did not look like any other building in Philadelphia. In fact, the prison, which was the largest building in the United States at the time, was two miles outside of the city. Since the building itself was intended to deter crime, Eastern State was designed to resemble a medieval or gothic castle. Architect John Haviland said that the building should "strike fear into the hearts of those who thought of committing a crime." Today the prison is in downtown Philadelphia. The front tower originally housed an alarm bell at the level of the louvers and a clock which faced the cell blocks. After over 170 years, the front tower remains the tallest structure on the 11-acre penitentiary complex.