Eastern State Penitentiary
We recently made our way to Philadelphia for an overnight at Fort Mifflin. While in the area, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tour a location once known as the most famous and expensive prison in the world. The idea for this new prison was created in a meeting held at Benjamin Franklin's house in 1787. Eastern State Penitentiary opened in October of 1829 and operated until January 1971. In its 142 years of operation, Eastern State saw escapes by more than 100 inmates and held notorious lawbreakers such as Al Capone and Slick Willie. The penitentiary was given a neo-Gothic look, thinking that this would cause would-be criminals to think twice before committing a crime. However, this likely didn’t phase the most unusual of its inmates. Pep, an Irish Setter, was inmate No. C 2559.
Our visits to this location:
As Inmate No. C 2559, Irish Setter Pep was sentenced to life at Eastern State Penitentiary via an executive order by Governor Pinchot in 1924. Rumors have Pep as the Cat-Murdering Dog and accuse him of killing Governor Pincho’s wife’s favorite cat. Perhaps, though, poor Pep has been slandered by history.
We suspect (as does the writer of this linked article) that Pep was falsely sentenced by a witty member of the press. He was probably never locked up at all and roamed the halls of Eastern State, loved by inmates and guards alike.
It seems that the biggest crime Pep might have been guilty of was chewing up furniture in the Governor’s Mansion. In fact, ole Pep may have been one of the very first pups to practice improving morale in an institutional setting as a result of an attempt to protect gubernatorial chair legs.