The beginning of our third day in San Francisco was spent embarking on a two part tour of Angel Island and the infamous Alcatraz Prison. We chose to visit Angel Island first so we could spend the rest of our day exploring the prison. Known as the “Elis Island of the West”, Angel Island has a history of mistreating Chinese Immigrants for months before deporting them back to China. The hour long tram tour took us around the island and our guide made history come alive.
After spending a scant 2 hours on Angel Island we boarded the ferry once again and took the short ride to Alcatraz Prison.
In place of a tour guide our admission to Alcatraz included a self-guided audio tour (the best I’ve ever taken!). This desk was the first stop for new prisoners.
A little farther along in the tour we were told about meal time routines, safety precautions (including the mustard gas that could be dispensed from the ceiling in the event of a riot), and the prisoners last meal on the day the prison closed on March 21, 1963. Sam and I thought this meal sounded like one of the better ones…but who knows what you might get in prison these days.
This shot was taken through the dining hall bars, looking at the prep kitchen.
During the audio tour we stopped to listen to this guide tell a story about one of Alcatraz’s most famous prisoners…”The Bird Man of Alcatraz”. Fascinating!
A typical cell for a prisoner at Alcatraz.
A view inside one of the “solitary confinement” cells. There were two solid steel doors to ensure no light could enter the space.
A cell showing how it might have looked when the prison was in use.
A cell belonging to one of the three prisoners who made a successful escape from Alcatraz. Although the prisoners later died (or did they??). They were the only three to ever escape from the confines of the prison walls. Amazingly enough the prisoners dug the holes with regular dinner spoons.
This picture shows an older building on the island which housed a military prison before the island was turned into a federal prison and re-named “Alcatraz”.
Another one of the older buildings on the island. Possibly housing laundry facilities.
A typical row of cells in Alcatraz.
A break room for the guards. Look carefully at this one…see anything?? Ohhhhhhhh.
A view out to the chilly waters surrounding the island.
A ferry boat returning to pick up another load of tourists and return them to the mainland.
A picture showing the remains of the guards “social hall”. At one time this building housed a bowling hall, a dance floor and some pretty rockin’ parties.
Another two parts are yet to come, so be sure to check back and find out how we ended this mini vacation!