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December 10, 2011

Ever since I watched the movie, Escape from Alcatraz, have I been curious and wanted to visit the famous penitentiary and today I did.  This was a beautiful sunny day and the sea was glistening, the seagulls flying around and the bridge  clear with no fog wrapped around it.  I boarded a solar powered boat and off we went for the fifteen minute ride across the bay.  Alcatraz has been given the nickname The Rock and indeed the penitentiary sits on a massive rock in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

As one arrives on the island, which is now part of the SF Bay Bridge National Park, the park rangers are busy trying to welcome the guests and give some information on the facility.  The island originally housed a fortress, in the mid 1800’s, a fortress to protect the gold being found in the area during the gold rush.  It was at a later time that the penitentiary was created.  To reach the penitentiary itself, one must walk up the hill for an elevation equal to a building  13 stories high.

Back side of the island.

On the softer side in the history of the penitentiary was to read a sign about the opportunity for inmates, who followed the rules, to spend time outside and have a garden.  Today, a group of volunteers maintains the gardens on the island.




The view from the top of the island is majestic and offers a full view of the entire San Francisco Bay and its bridges  and in the backdrop is the San Francisco skyline.

Naturally, the tour of the  penitentiary took the visitor from the regular cells, five feet wide, nine feet long and seven feet high to the isolation cells, then the dinner  hall ,  the shower room , but in all of this it was at the library that the sign below caused me to stop and think…….

The ride back on the solar paneled boat brought me back to our times as I wanted to put the images of the past behind me.


From → Posts on the USA

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