Former Missouri prison damaged by storm last month

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A rough area of where the tornado damage is in Jefferson City. The path of the storms was spotted by Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX helicopter

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tours of the 168-year-old former Missouri State Penitentiary are on hold at least through August because of extensive storm damage the complex sustained last month.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the thick stone walls of the “Big House” couldn’t stand up to the tornado that struck the city, and the roofs and windows were also damaged. Before it closed in 2004, the facility was the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River.

Last year, nearly 34,000 people toured the facility, which once held as many as 5,200 inmates.

Officials are still assessing the damage at the prison, but tourism officials say the damage and cancelled tours will cost more than $1 million in tourism-related spending.

Brittany Ruess, with the state Office of Administration, says it’s too soon to determine when or if tours will resume.

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