Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Welcome to Alcatraz


Alcatraz Island (sometimes informally referred to as simply Alcatraz or by its pop-culture name, The Rock) is a smaller island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963. It became a national recreation area in 1972 and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986. Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours.

The island had little vegetation and was a seabird habitat when it was explored in 1775 by Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala, who named it Isla de los Alcatraces ("Isle of the Pelicans").

Because of its natural isolation in the middle of a bay, surrounded by cold water and strong sea currents, Alcatraz was soon considered by the U.S. Army as an ideal location for holding captives. The maximum number of inmates was 302. In 1906, following the San Francisco earthquake (which destroyed much of the city), hundreds of civilian prisoners were transferred to the island for safety reasons. By 1912 a large cell house had been constructed on the island’s central crest, and by the late 1920’s, the three-story structure was nearly at full capacity.








Not such a pleasant place to stay huh....



Fortunately for us we can always take the ferry back to San Francisco :)

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