Alcatraz Island, also known as ‘The Rock’ is one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist destinations and receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It boasts a long history that ended with some of the most infamous prisoners and daring escapes. It has also been the subject of many movies over the years which depict the conditions and history of the infamous prison.
The Alcatraz prison was first used to house Civil War prisoners as early as 1861. The location was chosen because of its isolated location, choppy waters and strong current of San Francisco Bay. Following the war, the Army decided to use the island as a defence post, du lich nhat ban but later changed their direction and decided to make it a detention center instead. It was officially declared a long term detention center for military prisoners in 1868.
In August of 1934, the prison became the property of the U.S. Department of Justice and became a federal prison. It served as a federal prison for 29 years and housed many notable criminals, including Al Capone. No one ever successfully escaped Alcatraz but there were many attempts made. Thirty six people were involved in 14 escape attempts but all were either caught, or drowned in the icy rough waters of San Francisco Bay.
The penitentiary was closed on March 21, 1963 due to many contributing factors. It was more expensive to operate because of its isolated location; the harsh salt water from the bay was eroding the buildings; and the water was becoming too polluted from sewage waste from the prisoners, guards and their families.
Today, the building is a museum that is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can tour the empty halls and catch a glimpse of what life was like for prisoners on Alcatraz. Guided tours will educate people on some of the more notable prisoners, and they can watch videos with former prison guards. Protected wildlife and gardens can be found on the island as well.
If you are travelling to San Francisco and want to include an Alcatraz tour on your itinerary, it is best to purchase your tickets ahead of time in order to avoid disappointment. Tours fill up quickly. Check the hours of operation so you can plan on the best time to go. You can buy tickets online, or ask your travel agent if there is a tour included in an all inclusive package.