The History of the Missouri State Penitentiary

Jefferson City's Past Comes to Life

Still owned by State of Missouri, The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) opened in 1836 along the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capital. The prison housed inmates for 168 years and was the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi until it was decommissioned in 2004. Now the Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a wide variety of tours at the site, once named the “The bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time Magazine.

Click below to find out about the inmates (including notable women), executions, escapes, as well as the famous prison riot of 1954 before you arrive for one of our history tours!

jefferson city penitentiary tour