Fallout 76 Locations in REAL Life - Part 2
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Terry takes us to another historic location featured in Fallout 76 in his travels throughout West Virginia.
A Wastelander’s Guide to West Virginia: Moundsville
Located along the Ohio River in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia is a small town called Moundsville. It is known for two things: The Grave Creek Mound Historical Site and the West Virginia Penitentiary (WVP). Today I will be giving you a tour of the WVP known as “Eastern Regional Penitentiary” in Fallout 76. If you haven’t seen my previous article about Berkeley Springs, check it out here. The developers did an amazing job of recreating Berkeley Springs in great detail. They did a wonderful job with WVP as well, though some things are changed slightly.
"WVP was not a place criminals wanted to serve time. It was listed on the DOJ's Top Ten Most Violent Correctional Facilities."
WVP was in operation from 1876-1995. It is an imposing Gothic-style building made from locally quarried stone. The walls are up to 5 feet thick at the base and 24 feet tall. Initially, the prison consisted of the North Wagon Gate, North cellblock, and South cellblock. The North cellblock included the kitchen, dining room, hospital, and chapel. There were also offices and housing for the warden and his family. Other buildings were added after opening including a carpentry shop, paint shop, wagon shop, stone yard, brickyard, blacksmith, tailor, bakery, and hospital. Due to overcrowding, with up to 3 inmates in a 5’x7’ cell, the prison was doubled in size with construction starting in 1929 and finishing in 1959.
WVP was not a place criminals wanted to serve time. It was listed on the DOJ’s Top Ten Most Violent Correctional Facilities. Thirty-six homicides and countless other violent acts took place behind these walls. There was a prison break in 1979 where fifteen inmates escaped. During the escape, one inmate killed an off-duty WV State Trooper just outside of the prison. The prisoner was at large for 18 months, and after a cross-country crime spree and a shootout with federal agents, he was brought back into WV custody.
During a riot in 1986, the prisoners effectively took over the prison for two days. Several hostages were taken during this time but were not seriously hurt. Three inmates thought to be snitches were killed. The cause of the riot was poor sanitation including backed-up leaking sewage pipes, lack of adequate housing space, deteriorating infrastructure, and generally inhumane conditions. The Governor was brought in and negotiated new rules and standards with the inmates.
The North Hall known as “The Alamo” was where the worst of the prisoners lived in their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day. Many of these cells are decorated with wall art giving insight into the mental state of these inmates. Some of it is creative and well done, but most of it is just disturbing. In 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 5’x7’ cells were cruel and unusual punishment. By 1995 the prison was closed and the prisoners were moved to other facilities. The legacy of violence inside these walls was finally over after almost 120 years.
As mentioned before, the North Wagon Gate was one of the first structures built at the prison. Before the expansion in 1929, all supplies had to come through these gates. This was the only way to get anything in and out. After the expansion, a second gate was added in the South end of the prison yard. It was not nearly as ornate, but it was a bit larger and supplied the new facilities at that end of the prison. In the Fallout 76 version of the prison, the newer style gate is used. There is a hole blown in the wall where the North Wagon Gate would be located.
There are two main yards at WVP. The North yard consists of a courtyard, some trade buildings, and a couple of recreational courts. The South yard is an open recreational field with a chapel located by the Eastern wall. All around the walls of the yards you can see the ghosts of past buildings where the walls are a different color. One of those buildings was a greenhouse where an escape was planned and carried out.
Where the North yard basketball courts are currently located once stood the building where, over the years, 94 men were executed. The executions were public events up until 1931. They were changed to “invitation only” after a prisoner was accidentally decapitated when the length of his rope was miscalculated and he dropped too far. WVP was also infamous for its use of the electric chair. The chair nicknamed “Old Sparky”, was commissioned to be built by one of the inmates and did not make the builder any friends.
In the South, there were sports fields, chess tables, and a bathhouse. At one point the equipment provided was reduced to a couple of baseballs, a bat, and a few deflated footballs and basketballs. This led to prisoners getting bored and frustrated which resulted in more violence. The majority of which occurred in the bathhouse which was reduced to low walls with little privacy.
Also located in the South yard is a little white chapel.