MSP tours in Jefferson City to resume, following May tornado

Local News

You’ll have the opportunity again soon to tour the old Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) in Jefferson City, about four months after an EF-3 tornado struck the facility.

The Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City’s front entrance (2019 file photo courtesy of Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau (JCCVB) spokeswoman Brittney Mormann says modified tours will be offered.

“We are actually going to start tours beginning October 1 and we’ll run those through November 30, which is typically our end of tour season,” Mormann says.

The modified tours will include access to housing units one and three and the old gas chamber, where 40 Missouri inmates were executed between 1937 and 1989.

It will also include the popular “ghost tours.”

Mormann tells Missourinet the CVB has lost $308,000 in revenue since the tours stopped, because of the tornado.

She says more than 33,000 people toured MSP in 2018, with some coming from different states and countries. Mormann says that resulted in a $2.5 million economic impact on Jefferson City.

MSP was one of about 240 Jefferson City area structures struck by the tornado. Mormann encourages residents to take a fall tour, noting the tornado will be mentioned.

“Our tour guides are going to do the best of their ability to tell you about the history as well as that new layer of history with the (May) tornado coming through on the property,” says Mormann.

MSP, which was known as the “Bloodiest 47 Acres in the United States”, housed high-profile inmates like James Earl Ray and boxer Sonny Liston.

You can find more tour information at missouripentours.com. Net profit from tour ticket and merchandise sales goes back into the preservation of MSP, which opened in 1836.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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