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gem icon Alcatraz Island

6 votes

Overview

Have you ever wanted to take a peek into Al Capone's one-time quarters or experience one of America's most famous prisons? Alcatraz Island has long captivated the imaginations of many, and a visit to the island soon reveals why.

Originally developed in 1853 as a response to the outbreak of the civil war, Alcatraz Island began it's storied history as a military fortification and lighthouse. Soon after, the island was used to house Confederate sympathizers, which began the period of time when the island was used as a prison. Due to the treacherous currents in the area, the island was considered to be especially secure, as it was unlikely that any prisoners would escape both the fortifications and the San Francisco Bay.

The island officially opened as a prison in 1934, and held prisoners for 29 years. During it's tenure, the prison saw many famous criminals, such as James "Whitey" Bulger, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and Al Capone, among others. The penitentiary was closed in 1963.

In the years that followed the closing of the prison, the island became the center of a national debate regarding the rights and treatment of Native Americans. Occupied for the first time in 1964, and for a longer period beginning in 1969, the group known as the United Indians of All Tribes gathered a group of Native American activists who demanded reparations and reform from the United States government. The group was eventually successful, winning the end of the Indian Termination Policy.

After the occupation, the island was vacant for many years, until the National Park Service proposed to make the island a tourist attraction where visitors could learn more about the island's history, bird population, and ecologic importance.

Today, there are many great sights on Alcatraz, ranging from nighttime tours of the prison to a multimedia recording of the United Indians of All Tribes occupation. This is an excellent place to visit, especially for history buffs.

Short Walk: A ferry is required to reach the island, but once on the island's shore, ramps and paved walkways make the sights accessible for all.

Family Friendly: With a ferry ride and long, varied history, Alcatraz Island will capture the imagination of most kids.

Gem Type: Historic Site

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on Apr 22, 2016. All Page Views: 82. Last Month: 5.