Not the Bastille

Happy Bastille Day to all lovers of liberty, equality, and brotherhood. And speaking of prisons, the old Western Penitentiary is vacant and crumbling, although it will take quite a while for a fortress like this to crumble.

What can be done with a building like this? It is a work of unusual architectural merit, but it was designed for one purpose, and perfectly adapted to that purpose alone. Our friend Father Pitt, who provides these pictures, suggests that it would do well as the mansion of an eccentric supervillain, but where will we find a supervillain eccentric enough? Perhaps Vladimir Putin will be available soon.

The only other use Dr. Boli could think of was as a film studio. The various parts of the building would make fine fantasy castles, palaces, Bastilles, etc., and the more prosaic sections could be adapted as soundstages.

But it occurs to him that his readers are full of good ideas. If you were the state of Pennsylvania, what would you do with the Western Pen? Where would you look for a buyer who would be willing to preserve the architectural features of the buildings while adapting them to creative new uses? Where would you place the advertisements to attract the attention of eccentric supervillains?



  1. The Shadow says:

    You can find plenty of supervillains in Congress… However they are disappointingly low in eccentricity for the most part

  2. von Hindenburg says:

    Are the cells are too large to be profitably made into cubicles for office workers? I suppose you could cram 3 or 4 desks into each.

  3. tom says:

    Since it was designed for residential purposes why couldn’t it be returned to that use, housing the voluntarily unincarcerated?

  4. There used to be a website specializing in supplying villains with henchmen, henchmen uniforms, superweapons, and shark tanks and the like. It would seem the ideal place to advertise to that particular demographic, but they seem to have gone out of business (or at least to the Dark Web) many years ago, and the closest thing left seems to mainly sell knockoff Elon Musk not-quite-a-real-flamethrowers.


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