Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Friday, November 15, 2013

Escape to Alcatraz November 12

Nov 12 - After an early rise, we drove down to Pittsburg (without the H) to catch the BART into San Francisco.  We got off the train at Market St and then walked down to the Ferry Terminal grabbed some pastries, and then hiked to the Alcatraz cruise port.  It was a lovely 15 minute cruise to the Rock and then we spent the rest of the day touring Alcatraz.  We were free to wander the island and in the cell block (where the prisoners were housed) we were given a device that walked us through a wonderful audio tour.  After we returned to Fisherman's Wharf, we walked up to Chinatown again, ate in a Vietnamese restaurant and then walked through Chinatown in the dark.  It was beautiful with all the lights and action.

Telegraph hill - used to signal the town when the ships came to port

On the boat cruising towards "the Rock"

Getting closer to Alcatraz Island - building on top is the cell house

Lighthouse (still working), the burned out shell of the warden's house and the cell house in the background


Approaching the dock - same dock that the prisoners landed at to serve their time

Indian sign is from the 1969-71 Native American occupation

Guard tower - in the days of operation, there was a catwalk leading to tower



Water tower with writing from Native American occupation



Outside cell house

Going in to the "big house"


Inside the cell house



One man cells




When a new prisoner first came to the cell house, this is what he found in his cell






Recreation yard

The prisoners could see the San Francisco Bay


Recreation Yard - some prisoners sat on the steps and played bridge

Some of the more famous inmates at Alcatraz

The Birdman spent 17 years at Alcatraz - 11 of them in the hospital ward - the man was crazy

Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly


Isolation cells - they had no light in their cells except for the small window in the door


There were three levels in the cell house





The park ranger demonstrated the closing of the cell doors.  You will see the doors close, then you will hear the locking of the cells travel down the row.  I can only imagine what the prisoners felt as it happened.


Some of the prisoners did oil painting or crocheting in their cells

Visitation windows

Looking back towards San Francisco - the prisoners could hear sounds from San Francisco in their cells and the recreation yard


Standing outside the administration building part of the cell house, looking at the lighthouse, San Francisco Bay bridge, San Francisco, etc.


The remains of the warden's house - it burned in 1970



This gentleman was a former Alcatraz inmate who wrote a book about life in Alcatraz - he was there signing books

This sea lion is all by himself!

There are lots of beautiful gardens - they were first planted by soldiers wives when Alcatraz was a Civil War fort.  The gardens then continued when the warden and guards wives maintained them.

34 star flag


Pulling away from Alcatraz

Back in Chinatown - there were graffiti covered trucks

Arch at entrance to Chinatown


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