See more from my On This Day series here, where I celebrate travel memories on their trip anniversaries.
On October 20, 2019, I was at Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, USA.
Alcatraz is a small island situated in San Francisco Bay, about two kilometres offshore from San Francisco. The island was developed in the mid-19th century with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, and a military prison. In 1934, it was converted into the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, which housed such notable inmates as Al Capone, Mickey Cohen, and “Bumpy” Johnson. The prison was one of the most notorious in America, with a tumultuous history of multiple escape attempts including the violent “Battle of Alcatraz” in 1946 and the June 1962 attempt for which the US Marshals case file remains open and active.
The Penitentiary eventually closed in 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for over 19 months by a group of Native Americans who were part of a wave of activists organizing public protests across the US through the 1970s. In 1972, Alcatraz was transferred to the Department of Interior to become part of Golden Gate Recreation Area, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Today, you can visit Alcatraz Island as a tourist destination, part of the National Park Service. We booked a trip through Alcatraz City Cruises, which included the roundtrip ferry ride that took us across San Francisco Bay.
Our day tour included entry to Alcatraz Cellhouse, which we explored via a very well done audio tour.
We spent about three hours on the tour, and then escaped back to the mainland for the final parts of our adventure in San Francisco.