Damage from last week’s tornado has led to the indefinite suspension of the popular tours at the 183-year-old Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. The website MissouriPenTours.com is usually where people go to book a tour of the prison. At the top of the page, the site says all tours have been cancelled.
According to Missouri Office of Administration spokesperson, Brittany Ruess, last week’s twister caused significant roof damage to two of the penitentiary’s housing units. There was additional roof damage to another housing unit and the former gymnasium building. One large metal building on site was significantly damaged and a section of old stone wall also collapsed.
Brittney Mormann with the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau says nearly 34,000 people toured the prison in 2018. The annual revenue made from the tours last year was $689,464. Mormann says the agreement between the State of Missouri and the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau states the net profit from the tours must be used towards preserving the MSP property.
The popular Jefferson City tourist attraction has visitors from around the world who want to view the prison that dates back to 1836. It was the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi River until it was decommissioned in 2004. The site has offered a wide variety of tours, including history, ghost and photography ones.
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