ALCATRAZ ISLAND LINKS - The National Park Service site - Alcatraz history site

From the mid 1930's until the mid 1960's, Alcatraz was America's premier maximum-security prison, the final stop for the nation's most incorrigible inmates. Today, Alcatraz is a place of contradictions, with a grim past and an enduring future as one of San Francisco's most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions.

To the men confined there, it is not only the ultimate in isolation but the most ironic because they are there in the midst of the activity of a busy harbor with small craft darting to and from San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Richmond, and Sausalito; within sound of the honking horns of a ceaseless procession of automobiles crossing the bridges; within sight of ocean lines as they glide through the Golden Gate to far away ports in the vast Pacific, and within sight and sound of air clippers and their buzzing motors, all reminding them that life is near but freedom far.

-James A. Johnston, Alcatraz:Island Prison


Escape From Alcatraz  -the movie starrn g Clint Eastwood (1979) - A group of inmates attempt a daring escape from the notorious Alcatraz prison island, from where no-one had managed to escape before. Based on a true story.


Military Post at Alcatraz Island

When the Spanish first entered San Francisco Ray in 1775, a naval lieutenant, Don Juan Manuel de Ayala, name d Alcatraz Island "Isla de los Alcatraces" (Island of the Pelicans). There are no records indicating its occupation by Spaniards during the 1775-1810 period. After the short lived Bear Revolt in 1846, Mexico in 1848 ceded the island to the United States. The famous 12 acre precipitous rocky island, facing the Golden Gate, was declared a military reservation by all executive order on November 6, 1850. A part of the area's defensive system, along with Lime Point Military Reservation, intended to guard the entrance to the bay, its first fortifications were begun in 1853 under the direction of Lieutenant Zealous Bates Tower, U.S. Corps of Engineers, and consisted in the main of a brick 200 by 100 foot citadel, batteries, two barrack structures for troops, and three cell blocks

First garrisoned on December 30, 1859, the post was officially designated Alcatraz Island hot was often referred to as Fort Alcatraz. By 1861 the fort had 85 cannon and a garrison of 130 men. The island became a detention camp for political prisoners during the Civil War.

Art of The Rock - impressions of cyberartist Pygoya after tour in July 2004