Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Folks Visited Alcatraz

The folks toured Alcatraz on Sunday.  They took a ferry to San Francisco so that they could avoid the traffic and parking fees.  The ferry fee was $12.80 round-trip per person.  It was a definite savings since it cost $9 an hour to park in the garage and the folks would have been there about four hours.  The downside is that you have to be on the ferry schedules and not on your own.  Mom wasn't thrilled about that since they had to make sure they made it to the ferry on time and then made it to the Alcatraz tour on time and then vice versa to get home.  They were early each time, so it wasn't an issue although they did have to cut their time a little short at Alcatraz so that they could get back home to me at reasonable time.  I really wanted to go with them and when they came home, I howled.  BOL!

Seeing the Bay Bridge from the ferry.

Port of San Francisco

San Francisco from the ferry.
The folks stopped for lunch before their Alcatraz tour.  They ate at the same seafood place that they ate at last week at Pier 39.  They knew the service was quick and the food was good.  Mom had a cheeseburger this time. Dad had clam chowder in a bread bowl and calamari. 

 The ferry dropped them at Pier 41 and the Alcatraz tour started at Pier 33, so they had a little bit of a walk.

The boat that takes visitors to "The Rock".

There it is!
 When you arrive on the island, a National Park Service employee gives a brief speech about Alcatraz.  Before Alcatraz was a prison, it served as a fort. Construction began in 1853.  It closed in 1907.  It had been used as a prison during that time though.  During the civil war, Alcatraz was used to house prisoners.  Later, Indians were imprisoned here.  During the Spanish-American War, military convicts were sent here.  In 1934, it was re-opened as a federal penitentiary. 1,545 prisoners did time here.  There were five suicides and eight murders.  They were not buried on the island. There were 14 documented cases of attempted break-outs.  Only one was successful.

A 17 minute film is shown to visitors discussing the history of Alcatraz.

View from Alcatraz.

Dad wondered what came first, the fence or the tree?  Mom did not know the answer.

The morgue

Water Tower - In 1969 - Native Americans declared Alcatraz theirs. In 1971 - the final Native Americans were removed from the island. Their painting on various items remain, as on this water tower.
 It is quite a hike up to the cell house.  It is said to be the equivalent to a 13-story climb.  Mom said it wasn't as bad as she was expecting.  She saw some women wearing heels.  She does not know if they made it.
The first stop for inmates - clothes, shoes and bedding are picked up.

The showers.
 This is where the audio tour begins for visitors.  Headphones are given to each person and then you listen as descriptions of each stop are given.  Mom said it was really good.  There were sounds of inmates, sounds of cells slamming.

A cell.
View of the cell house.

A cell from the "Hole".  This is where inmates who were really bad stayed.  Another door closed after the cell making it dark.

The library.

View from library.
Some inmates painted.
Some crocheted.

The painting near the back is of the Golden Gate Bridge. They could see it from a small window that was in a hallway.

This is probably the view the inmate used to paint the Golden Gate Bridge.
Control room.
Uniform that officers wore.

Warden's House- It was burned down in 1970 when the Native Americans were living on the island.  It is said to be haunted.
 Families of the correction officers actually lived on the island.  The children took a ferry to school each day.  They families said they felt safe and many did not even lock their doors.

The lighthouse.  It was the first on the Pacific Coast and has been in operation since 1854.  It only had one service interruption and that was in 1970, when fire destroyed the lighthouse keepers' quarters and disrupted power to the light.

Model of Alcatraz.

View of the city.

In 1962, three men did escape from Alcatraz.  They made dummies to lie in their beds and they escaped through the vent in their cells.  They used raincoats as floatation devices.  Many assumed that they drowned, but new evidence has been found that says the Anglin Brothers actually did escape to Brazil.  The History Channel aired a show last night that showed the evidence.  I watched it with Mom and it was very interesting.  Here is a link to it: Alcatraz: Search for the Truth.

One of the men who escaped worked as a prison barber.  He collected the air in the cuff of his pants and used it on the dummies.

The end of the cell "streets" all have different names such as Times Square and Broadway.

Pots in the kitchen.

The cafeteria.

Another view of the cafeteria.

The canister at the top right is full of tear gas.  There were several in the cafeteria but none were ever used.

Notice the outline of the knives.  This helped them keep track to make sure knives were not missing.


Guard House
Guard Tower
The ride off the island.
Mom said she wishes they would have had a little more time to explore the island.  There are supposed to be some really nice plants and a lot of birds on the island. 

The cost of the tour is $31 a person and you must buy tickets ahead of time.  It is supposedly rare to be able to buy tickets the same day that you are visiting.  Mom bought theirs online about a week before the tour.  The folks really enjoyed the tour.

The Greyhound Who Really Wanted To See Alcatraz

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