Alcatraz Part Deux – Day 87

Alcatraz Part Deux

Day 87 – June 26, 2003 – Thursday

Still in San Francisco. We helped Ryan with his work overload today. 94-degrees today. It’s NEVER this hot in San Francisco!

Ryan and I took another tour of Alcatraz today. I took 150 photos, so we now have a very comprehensive “virtual tour” of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz is a 22-acre island in San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz is best known as a federal maximum-security prison, but the Island has a long and interesting history. Scientists tell us that 10,000 years ago, the small sandstone peak that would later be called Alcatraz rose above ocean waters flooding the valley that became San Francisco Bay. 3,000 years ago, Indians paddled their reed canoes to Alcatraz hunting for birds’ eggs and perhaps fishing from its shores. In 1847, California purchased Alcatraz from the Mexican government.

The United States began fortifying Alcatraz in 1853, and Alcatraz Island served as a military fortification in the 1850s and as an incarceration facility for war prisoners during the Spanish-American War. In 1934, Alcatraz became a federal maximum-security prison, and it became infamous for Mafia criminals and high-risk convicts. Famous Alcatraz residents have included Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud. Alcatraz Island is located just a mile from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, but there is no evidence that anyone ever escaped across the icy bay. In fact, Alcatraz was the only prison in the federal prison system that touted hot showers, a luxury designed to keep prisoners from acclimating to cold water.

Alcatraz is known as “The Rock.” Inmates had great views of the beautiful San Francisco skyline, and that made life even more unpleasant there.

The prison closed in 1963 due to the extremely high costs of operating the facility. Since that time, people have been trying to get on the island rather than off.

In 1969, a group of Native Americans attempted to reclaim the land saying that an 1868 federal treaty allowed Native Americans to use all federal territory that the government wasn’t actively using. After almost two years of occupation, the government forced them off. The story of the occupation is covered in the Alcatraz Museum, and graffiti remains claiming “this is Native American land.”

In 1972, Alcatraz became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is now managed by the National Park Service. The first tourists visited the Island in 1973, and today, Alcatraz is the most popular tourist attraction in the Bay Area.

Click on each of the topics below to read about the history of Alcatraz:

  1. Alcatraz the Early Years
    2.Alcatraz the Fort
    3. Alcatraz the Prison
    4. The Native American Occupation
    5. Natural Alcatraz
    6. Alcatraz the Tourist Attraction

Click on each of the areas below to read about each of the major areas at Alcatraz:

  1. The Dock
    2.Guardhouse and Sally Port
    3. Post Exchange – Officers’ Club
    4. Military Chapel
    5. Barracks – Apartments
    6. Warden’s House
    7. Lighthouse
    8. Cellhouse

Alcatraz tickets are sold out for the next week or so. 4,200 people a day is the maximum that the ferries can hold. It looks like Alcatraz will be sold out all summer long. For tickets and tours, call Alcatraz Media at 800-410-8233.

Dinner by Ryan’s personal chef last night. Excellent once again.

I will finally leave San Francisco tomorrow. Heading north of Highway 101 along the coast all the way to the top of Washington. It looks like we will be in Alaska on or about the Fourth of July.

Granddaughter Madison had her first birthday today. She now walks like a pro, and she is saying “my ma ma,” “da,” and “Ora” (for Dora doll). Happy Birthday Maddie! Barbara flew back to Atlanta for the festivities.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.

More Information on the Sights Visited Today:

San Francisco California — Alcatraz