Timeline

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| 1831
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| 1833
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1834
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| 1836
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| | | 1840
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| 1842
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| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1868
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| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1885
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| | | | | | | 1893
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| | | | | | 1900
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| | | | 1905
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| | | 1909
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| 1911
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| | 1914
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| | | | | | | | | | 1925
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| | | | | | 1932
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| | | | 1937
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1938
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| | | | | | | | | | | 1950
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| | | 1954
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| | | | | | | | | | | | 1967
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| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1989
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| 1991
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| | | | | | | | | | | | 2004
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1831

1831

Missouri Governor John Miller suggested a prison be built in Jefferson City to ensure the city remained the seat of Missouri government.
1833

1833

The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill to establish and build a Penitentiary in Jefferson City.
1834

1834

Construction began on the first Missouri State Prison west of the Mississippi River.
1836

1836

The first inmate, Wilson Eidson was received from Green County.
1840

1840

Early prison laborers built houses. Many fine homes remain today that were built by convicts accompanied by armed guards.
1842

1842

The first female inmate, Amelia Eddy, arrived from St. Louis County.
1868

1868

Housing Unit 4, commonly known as “A Hall,” was built for post- Civil War criminals. Stone was quarried on-site by prisoners. A Hall remains the oldest existing building on the MSP site.
1885

1885

Six major shoe factories and numerous other industries, including the largest saddletree factory in the world, contributed to the Jefferson City economy utilizing inmate labor.
1893

1893

MSP considered one of the most efficient prisons in the country, housing and feeding inmates for $0.11 per day.

1900

The Jefferson City Star Tribune declared the Missouri State Penitentiary the “Greatest in the World.” By then an average of 2,200 prisoners lived behind the walls.
1905

1905

Housing Unit 1, which currently serves as the main entrance into MSP, is constructed. Infamous female inmates Emma Goldman and Kate O’Hare lived there.
1909

1909

The penitentiary made a radical change that was greeted with widespread enthusiasm amongst the inmates. They would no longer be required to wear the zebra-striped black and white suits.
1911

1911

On February 5th, MSP inmates saved thousands of documents when the Missouri State Capitol was destroyed by fire.
1914

1914

Housing Unit 3 constructed which served as both a housing unit, administrative segregation unit and the capital punishment unit until 1989. The 1954 Riot started and ended in this building.
1925

1925

Infamous inmate Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd arrived at MSP.
1932

1932

MSP became the largest prison in the United States with 5,200 inmates.
1937

1937

The Missouri State Penitentiary Gas Chamber was constructed by inmates using stone from the prison quarry. The gas chamber itself was delivered and placed on a concrete pad and the building was built around it. It would become the location of 40 executions.
1938

1938

Plans developed in 1935 to build a hospital unit come to fruition and a modern, five-story building with 240 beds is opened allowing medical records to be maintained on each inmate.
1950

1950

Charles “Sonny” Liston entered MSP and learned to box before going on to win the National Heavyweight Championship upon his release.
1954

1954

A major riot occurred which focused national attention on MSP.

1967

MSP called “the bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time Magazine.
1989

1989

MSP death row ended and all capital punishment inmates were moved to the new prison at Potosi.

1991

The name of Missouri State Penitentiary was changed to the Jefferson City Correctional Center.
2004

2004

On Wednesday, September 15th, 1,355 inmates are moved from the Missouri State Penitentiary to the new Jefferson City Correctional Center east of town. The Missouri State Penitentiary served Missouri as the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River for over 168 years.