"Alcatraz - The Rock" Top 5 Page for this destination Alcatraz Island by GinGinCoo

Alcatraz Island Travel Guide: 116 reviews and 191 photos


For thousands of years, the island was a barren sandstone rock inhabited by seabirds. It is believed that Native Americans came ashore to hunt for bird eggs or fish. In 1755, Spanish explorer Juan de Ayala charted the bay and named an island "La Isla de los Alcatraces" - The Island of the Pelicans.

The island was still uninhabited when California became part of the United States in 1848. In 1853 the Army began to build fortifications on the island. The fortifications on Alcatraz were 100 heavy cannon and a garrison of 300 soldiers. No enemy ever attacked, however, and the gun rooms were converted into jail cells.

Alcatraz became the Army's Pacific Branch Military Prison in 1907. Soldiers sentenced to hard labor chipped rock, built roadways and buildings, and transported soil. In 1933 the Army transferred Alcatraz to the newly formed Federal Bureau of Prisons. The prison was redesigned as a maximum-security facility.

The cost of transporting water, fuel, food and supplies to this isolated island made Alcatraz expensive to operate. The buildings were deteriorating rapidly in the sailt air, and repairs would have been unreasonably expensive. The Federal prison on Alcatraz closed March 21, 1963.

From 1969 to 1971 a group of Native Americans, political activists occupied the island. This occupation is remembered as a key moment in the creation of a national civil rights movement by indigenous peoples in the United States.

In 1972 Alcatraz Island was made part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) administered by the National Park Services.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots of History, small park, good guides
  • Cons:Hard to get in, make a reservation a day or 2 in advance
  • In a nutshell:When in the bay Area, this National Park is a must See!
  • Last visit to Alcatraz Island: Feb 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“All I want is a warm bed, a kind word, and UNLIMITED FREQUENT FLIER MILES! Mabuhay ang Pilipino!”

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