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Missouri State Penitentiary to be featured on 'Ghost Adventures'

12:55 PM, Sep 3, 2013   |    comments
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KSDK) - The Missouri State Penitentiary will get the spotlight for a TV show focused on ghosts.

The Travel Channel's show "Ghost Adventures" will focus on the former Missouri prison for an episode this week. The film crew re-enacted the 1954 prison riot and a double-execution conducted at the prison.

In 1967 Time Magazine called the prison "America's bloodiest 47 acres."

The prison opened in 1836 after two years of construction.

PHOTOS: Missouri State Penitentiary prison riot of 1954

According to, the prison received its first female inmate, Amelia Eddy, in 1842. Eddy was from St. Louis County and was sentenced to two years for grand larceny, but served only a few days. She was pardoned because the prison was deemed inadequate for her.

By 1893 the prison was feeding and housing the inmates for only $0.11 per day, making the facility one of the most efficient prisons in the country.

Around the turn of the century the compound housed, on average, 2,200 inmates. The convicts, guarded by armed security teams, were used to build homes in the area. They are also credited with saving thousands of documents when the state capitol went up in flames Feb. 5, 1911.

One of the most famous inmates housed at the establishment was notorious bank robber Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd. Floyd was locked up in 1925 for a payroll robbery he committed in St. Louis. He served 3 1/2 years of his five-year sentence.

In 1932 the Missouri State Penitentiary grew to become the largest prison in the country, housing 5,200 inmates.

A gas chamber was installed on the grounds in 1937. The chamber, which executed 40 people over the following years, was placed on a concrete pad and the building was constructed around it.

Heavyweight boxer Charles "Sonny" Liston was incarcerated at the prison in 1950 and learned to box. He went on to win the title 12 years later.

A riot in 1954 killed four inmates and injured 29. Officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri National Guard, and police officers from Kansas City, Jefferson City, and St. Louis helped guards regain control of the prison. Four guards were injured, and the building sustained around $5 million in damage.

In 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary, the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi River, closed after the Jefferson City Correctional Center opened.

"Ghost Adventures" airs Friday night on the Travel Channel.


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