sojourneys


Alcatraz Island, California, USA
October 26, 2007, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Alcatraz, Alcatraz Island, California, holiday, photos, San Francisco, SF, USA, vacation

Alcatraz, a small, rocky island located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay area, is a storied, historic landmark once home to America’s most notorious crime figures such as Al Capone, Robert Stroud (“Birdman of Alcatraz”), and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Today, it is managed under the auspices of the U.S. National Parks Service, assiduously conserved so that it continues to tell the stories of the inmates and the harsh, windswept environs they once inhabited.

Park rangers provide commentary on a guided tour of the exterior of the prison complex, while a lovingly constructed audio tour does it best to create an authentic experience so that even camera-totting tourists can visualize how prisoners once lived their lives on the inside–and some of their infamous attempts at breakouts.

Due to high operating costs, Alcatraz saw its last prisoner transferred in 1963, and in 1969, a group of Native Americans occupied the island and proposed to reclaim it as a center for American Indian education, ecology, and culture. While the Indians finally did leave Alcatraz some 18 months later, they did succeed in ignting a movement that heightened an awareness of the plight of Native Americans by the general public.

While Alcatraz Island no doubt caters to mainstream tourists, it has enough of culture, history, and nature to appeal to visitors of all stripes.

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