Moundsville, West Virginia: West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

Learn what it's like to live behind bars -- for an hour or so -- in this decommissioned prison. Has an electric chair and gallows, too, but just for viewing.

Visitor Tips and News About West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

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WV Pen.

West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

Stopped by on our way home from Ohio. The WV Pen Tour staff was fantastic and so well informed on not just the standard info, but they had little stories that made this much more interesting. Visiting old prisons is a look back at history. This one is no exception. Various riots, prison breaks and murders all happened within these walls. Our tour guide was fantastic and shared stories about these events with us.And make sure to go across the street to Johnny Shar's Big Dipper Ice Cream & Museum if you visit between April and October.

[Bigfoot & Squirrel, 05/01/2014]

West Virginia Pen cell.

West Virginia State Penitentiary

This tour is well worth the $12. Our's lasted about an hour and a half, and the guide did a great job of explaining the history of the prison. While we would have liked to have heard more about the spooky ghost stuff, we really enjoyed it. The artifacts on display in the little museum at the entrance were interesting enough on their own.

[John S. from Va, 11/06/2013]

We've found that most tour guides like it when you ask questions; they feed off of your interests, just like a malevolent spirit entity feeds off of your terror.

Electric Chair.

West Virginia Penitentiary

The former West Virginia Penitentiary housed some of the most violent criminals in history. Many of the prisoners who lived here also died here. The prison is known to have one of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the United States.

On the day tour, there were some fun stories told! I'd like to go back and do the tour in the dark!

You get to see Old Sparky -- a good 'ol electric chair! You hear tales of inmate murders, riots...great stuff! There's even a letter on display from Charles Manson. He wrote the warden trying to get him to transfer him to this prison.

[Lori White, 10/19/2010]
West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

The West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour is fast becoming world reknown, and I suggest a visit before rates increase accordingly due to appearances in five TV shows including Sci-Fi's Ghost-Hunters (twice) and three movies, most conspicuously Scooby-Doo 2.

My tour guide was an actual guard on duty during the '86 riot and he provided a wealth of first hand information. Of course, photo-ops abound in an environment like this.

The spookily-inclined may prefer the Midnight Ghost Tours held monthly. The Pen is reputed to be "the most haunted building East of The Mississippi" by those in the know.

Sadly, "live" hangings are no longer performed, as the head popped off their hanging-dummy and he has yet to be repaired. No word of when this practice will resume. My suggestion that they compensate us with an electric chair demonstration was met with blank stares and an uncomfortable silence.

[StormRaven, 08/15/2006]
Tourist Jail Hosts Annual Riot

The former West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, now a prison tourist attraction, will host its 10th annual "Mock Prison Riot" on Sunday, May 7. The riot will begin promptly at 8 a.m.... [05/04/2006] Complete News Story

West Virginia State Penitentiary Tour

818 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville, WV
On the south side of Moundsville, at the corner of 8th St. and Jefferson Ave. Jefferson is a couple of blocks east of Hwy 2.
Apr-Nov Daily 10-4. No heat, too cold for winter tours. (Call to verify)
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Grave Creek MoundGrave Creek Mound, Moundsville, WV - < 1 mi.
Toy and Plastic Brick MuseumToy and Plastic Brick Museum, Bellaire, OH - 8 mi.
Soldier Covering His EarsSoldier Covering His Ears, Bridgeport, OH - 11 mi.
In the region:
Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum, Wheeling, WV - 10 mi.

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