Located in San Francisco Bay, the Alcatraz Island is unlike any other island you see. Thanks partly to the rich history that took place inside its massive fortifications. But there is more to this island than what you see in films like The Rock and Escape from Alcatraz.
The island’s strategic location made it an excellent choice for a military quarter. And it did become one in 1850 – specifically from the orders of then US president Millard Fillmore. But the island known as The Rock became famous – or infamous in 1934 when it became a federal prison, locking down some of history’s most notorious gangsters and criminals. Who could have thought that the era’s dark figures like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis, and Robert Franklin Stroud have all graced its now empty prison cells? It’s funny how an Island aptly named after “pelicans” can have so much notoriety.
By the early ‘60s, the government decided to cease operations as the penitentiary on the island proved to be more expensive than ordinary prison. From then on, this once infamous island has become a visitor destination managed by the National Park Service. Visitors who wish to visit the island can do so by riding a ferry off San Francisco Bay’s Pier 33. Here, visitors can see a glimpse of its old glory – from the prison cell to some of the historical artifacts. Adventure seekers, on the other hand, find this place interesting because of the ghosts that reportedly haunt the island.
The Federal Prison in Alcatraz Island has long been gone. But the legend that it has spawned still remain. It is said that no prisoner escaped in Alcatraz in 29 years of its operation. Some escapees were caught, others were shot and died during their escape, while three were said to have drowned – although the bodies were never found, making some believe that the prisoners have indeed escaped.