Western Pen: View of the River
Pittsburgh's State Correctional Institution — commonly known as Western Penitentiary or Western Pen — was originally built in 1826 a few blocks from the current site; it was relocated in 1882 to its present location on the Ohio River. The English writer Charles Dickens visited the original prison in 1842 and was appalled at the prisoners' conditions. The facility also housed Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The prison held maximum-security inmates in its early years, and later inmates who required treatment for substance abuse. Western Pen closed in May 2017.