Alcatraz Prison: Then and Now
Facts About Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island has lots of facts and information but, these are just the basic facts to give everyone a clear understanding of wild and mysterious Alcatraz. There are more facts and information that can be found at Wikipedia but, this is just a glimpse. Legend has it that Alcatraz was not escapable.
Location: San Francisco Bay, California
Size: 22 Acres
Historic: U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Distance From Land: 1.5 miles off shore from San Francisco
Lighthouse: Alcatraz has the first ever lighthouse on the West Coast.
Visitors: Alcatraz has around 1.5 million visitors every year.
Be Quite: From 1934 until 1950 their was a strict code of silence. Inmates could not talk at all.
Security Level: Alcatraz was a maximum security prison.
Cell Size: The jail cells were 5 feet by 9 feet.
Escape Attempts: Fourteen
Tree Life: Apple and Fig trees are located on the banks of Alcatraz Island.
Morgue: A morgue was located at Alcatraz but, when an inmate died he was sent to the San Francisco Morgue instead of the one on the island.
Have You Ever Been?
Have you ever toured or been to Alcatraz for any reason?
Military Prison (1868)
Originally, The U.S. used the Island as a military base during the Civil War and even had cannons installed. (They were never fired)
Civil War prisoners were held in Alcatraz (Pelican) for a period during and after the war. Originally, prisoners were held in an underground basement until a brick jailhouse could be built.
At one point, over 450 inmates were held at Alcatraz Island at once. It was a strict prison with armed guards and the ferocity of these guys is said to be worse than any other prison in the country at the time of its operation. At some point there were places that even inmates were not allowed to speak about at all.
It has been said by some that Alcatraz is haunted, and I would imagine with this being a military prison, that there are some unsettled souls here.
If you have been able to tour Alcatraz or just want to share your opinions about Alcatraz, there is a section to place your comments. Look for the capsule located at the bottom of this page.
Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California
Federal Prison (1933-1963)
Some of the most notorious killers, bank robbers and gangsters have been incarcerated in Alcatraz Federal prison. Bumpy Johnson, Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Whitey Bulger are just some of the infamous criminals that were housed on the island.
While operating for thirty years as a federal prison it held an average of 250 prisoners at all times.
There have been many escape attempts during Alcatraz's tenure as a Federal prison but ,only three men have possibly escaped. (Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin). These three men dug holes in their cells for over a year using a metal spoon. Eventually, they made it to water where they used lots of prison issue rain coats and fast dry cement to construct life rafts to help them make it to the mainland. The three men were never found but parts of paddles and their homemade raft were found on the mainland indicating that the three men succeeded in escaping.
Great Alcatraz Films
Escape From Alcatraz
Half Past Dead
The Birdman of Alcatraz
King of Alcatraz
Catch Me If You Can
The Last Gangster
Murder in The First
The Book of Eli
Alcatraz: The Complete Series on DVD
Other Happenings On The Island
From 1969-1971 a large group of Native Americans took over the isolated island to protest American policies regarding American Indians. While they were on the island the American Indians burned several buildings up including the Warden's mansion and the apartment complex.
Whether it's true or not, haunting activities have been reported on this island for a long time. Before it was even a prison, Native Americans reported it to be an evil island filled with bad spirits. Even the visitors nowadays to the museum have reported strange noises and an eerie feeling while touring the island. Different noises, and voices can be heard in certain areas of the prison.
Alcatraz has been portrayed in video games such as: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and San Francisco Rush: The Rock. Also, Alcatraz has been featured in non fiction and fiction books. The same goes for films which have produced more than 20 Alcatraz movies.
Historic Alcatraz Footage
Alcatraz: Tourist Destination
Alcatraz is now a tourist destination and a museum of sorts. Customers ride a ferry over to the island before the tour begins.
When touring Alcatraz you will first watch a 17 minute video detailing all there is to know about the Island before the tour actually starts. An expert guide will give you a pamphlet and map and share comments about this historic sight.
Areas that can be visited at the Island are the: Dining Hall, cell house, library, lighthouse, water tower, recreation yard, new industries building, building 64 and the burned remains of the warden's house. The new industries building had trades such as sewing for the inmates. Building 64 was a three story apartment complex that was used to house people and their families that worked in the prison system.
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Location of Alcatraz Island (San Francisco Bay)
A Brief History of Alcatraz
© 2014 Buster Johnson