Tennessee April 03, 2015
The Inside Of This Abandoned Prison In Tennessee Is Disturbingly Incredible
Tucked back in the hills of West Nashville, there stands a structure of architectural beauty that exudes an atmosphere of utter creepiness. The Tennessee State Penitentiary is owned by the state and closed to the public because its years of loneliness (closed since 1992, to be exact) has left it crumbling and decrepit. Lucky for you? We’re offering you a quick peek inside the stone walls for a Tennessee tour that simply can’t be beat.
Welcome to the Tennessee State Penitentiary, friends. Won't you come in?
In this view from behind the prison grounds you can see the Nashville skyline and road leading to the back entrance. Strange to think this brooding structure is just minutes from downtown, isn't it? When it opened on a stretch of farmland in 1898 it was miles from the once small, growing city. Now it looms over the Nations neighborhood in West Nashville.
We have a feeling you wouldn't want to spend the night in this cell block...even when it was in working condition. Did you know that, 'Old Sparky' was housed here? The state electric chair was used in the execution of 125 people on the grounds.
As you can tell, the indoor conditions have fallen dismally by the wayside. Even during years of operation, however, what went on behind these walls leaned closer to chaos than calm. There were multiple fires and uprisings,, at one point there was a mass escape ploy and a fire that burned the main hall to the ground.
Did you know that James Earl Ray was held at the Tennessee State Penitentiary? The man accused of murdering Martin Luther King, Jr. was held behind these very walls in the sixties.
The beautiful architecture is what sets this prison apart from the more blase holding properties in the state, thought few know that the prison grounds were modeled after Auburn Prison in New York. With only 800 beds overcrowding became an issue almost immediately.
The greenery between the buildings has since become overgrown. There are still some areas that are used for storage on the property.
This is the TSP green mile, everyone. Where Old Sparky reigned and days were numbered. It's the last view over one hundred men ever saw.
This shot from the roof exudes an eerie beauty. Imagine the faces that once looked out those windows, dreaming of freedom.
No matter the downright creepiness of peeling walls and doors hung agape, there's a certain magnetism to the place. Hollywood has used the premises for movies such as, "The Green Mile," and "Walk the Line," while country artists such as LeAnn Rimes and Eric Church have used the expansive area to film music videos. Johnny Cash even played for the inmates in 1968 - now that's what we call a perk.
Would you want to spend a night in solitary, here? We thought not.
This may not be the actual prison 'green mile,' but the concrete gives us a sense of the heebie-jeebies. Since most of the prisoners were on death row, you can pretty much think that every mile is a certain shade of green.
The building has stood the test of time. Fires and floods and riots haven't brought the walls down yet, so we have a feeling this place will be standing for quite awhile.
No matter the horrors that may have gone on behind these walls, the sense of history stands strong. The Tennessee State Penitentiary is a cornerstone of local government and criminal justice.
So tell us – would you go inside? What do you think of this magnificent Nashville landmark? Let us know in the comments below!