This past television season had an interesting show on Fox which aired 3/26/12. ALCATRAZ, “a thrilling new series that follows a unique trio investigating the mystifying reappearance of 302 of Alcatraz’s most notorious prisoners and guards, 50 years after they vanished.”
A few years back I got a chance to tour the infamous Alcatraz. I was with a small group that had access to parts of Alcatraz that the general public doesn’t get to see. Since I watched that first episode of Alcatraz on Fox, I have been wanting to share some of my photos that I took during my visit. Click on any image to enlarge.
I am in to all sorts of history and Alcatraz has it all. A very quick timeline of the rock. Back in 1850 the island was declared a military reservation. From 1850-1934 this island was used to defend the bay area with 15″ canons. In 1854 the first working lighthouse on the Pacific Coast was built on Alcatraz or what the Spanish called “de los alcatraces.” In 1863 the first cell blocks were built out of wood. These cells would house Civil War prisoners. In 1895 members of the Hopi Tribe are imprisoned for resisting the policy of forced education of their children and land allotment programs contrary to their beliefs. In 1898 the prison is over crowded by Spanish-American war prisoners. 1900 the second prison is built. In 1907 Alcatraz become a military prison. 1912 the 3rd prison is built from prison labor. This part of the prison still stands today and is part of what you see when you tour the facility. In 1933 Alcatraz is handed over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. For 29 years, 1934-1963, Alcatraz was a Federal Penitentiary. During this time, Alcatraz housed some famous names. One of those famous was Al Capone.
Right now with the whole “Occupy Movement,” Alcatraz was also occupied and used like Wall Street. The white man has always taken and used force against the Native Americans. On November 20th, 1969 the island was taken over and occupied for 19 months. The government again wanted to take away from the Indians, they wanted to do away with their tribes and take more land away. Just like occupiers today, “The success or failure of the occupation should not be judged by whether the demands of the occupiers were realized. The underlying goals of the Indians on Alcatraz were to awaken the American public to the reality of the plight of the first Americans and to assert the need for Indian self-determination. As a result of the occupation, either directly or indirectly, the official government policy of termination of Indian tribes was ended and a policy of Indian self-determination became the official US government policy.” During the 19 months the Indians were protesting, President Nixon gave back Blue Lake, 48,000 acres, and occupied land in California to to the Taos Indians to start a University. Also, Native Americans were hired by the federal agency Bureau of Indian Affairs in D.C. Because of this movement, we still have recognition of Native American tribes.
I am fascinated with history. I like being able to visit places and experience things I usually just see in books.
For the Star War fanatics, this photo above is one of the locations that was used in filming The Empire Strikes Back. During the opening battle when Darth Vadar lands on the Hoth planet, the tunnel that was infiltrated with storm troopers as Vadar walks towards the strong force of young Skywalker is this tunnel. I was excited when I found out about this info.
This last photo is titled “Escaped from Alcatraz.” The pigeon looks like he’s trying to get off the island. Alcatraz Island is now part of the national park system http://www.nps.gov/index.htm. All information I used can be found on the website or many more sites on the web. I hope you have enjoyed my photos and a small history lesson. Thank you for checking out my blog.