Thursday, April 28, 2011

the Rock

The tour of Alcatraz island was one of the neatest parts of our trip to San Francisco. We road a ferry boat to and from the island and chose the night tour to make it even creepier!
The penitentiary closed in 1963 due to high costs and at one point was taken over by Native Americans in attempt to unite several tribes and demand various reparations from the government. It only lasted 18 months due to rampant drugs on the island. But you could still see the signs they painted in various places.
The island is now a National Park and several buildings were ruined in fires and corrosion.
The gun tower presiding over the island.
 The actual cell block area was much smaller and more "intimate" than Hollywood makes it look. There are four rows of cells that stretch three stories high. The total of 336 cells were filled on average with 260 prisoners at a time.
 They set up a typical cell for the tour. Only 6 feet by 9 feet.
 This is the more secure cell block - D block. You can see the doors to the isolation cells on the bottom right. 
A view from inside the dark isolation cell. 
The prisoners were 1.5 miles away from San Francisco through the cold Bay. The swim in the frigid water was a good escape deterrent. The prisoners noted that when the wind was just right, they could hear music from the piers on San Francisco - especially on New Year'e Eve. 

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