San Francisco – Alcatraz

No visit to San Francisco could be complete without a visit to the island of Alcatraz.

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Since being closed as a prison, it is now a very popular national park, though I wonder for how many more years it will be able to operate since it’s not well maintained in many places.

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Immediately upon entering the island, you see this sign which has been left as it was, graffiti included. It says “Indians Welcome” (called Indians because its what they call themselves) because they took possession of the island for a short while after it closed as a prison. They never gained permanent control of the island as they hoped, but they did raise awareness for their cause.

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Inside, there is a large network of areas that tourists aren’t allowed to go. This is one of them. I poked my camera through a barricade when taking this picture. It was actually quite dark, since you can see I left my shutter open a long time with the brightness of the lights.

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This is a typical cell, and one that is particularly well preserved. I wonder how often those towels need to be washed due to dust collection. I didn’t notice until now there’s also a broom on the floor, perhaps for keeping the area tidy.

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Very prison-like.

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During the Indian Occupation and a few years after, several buildings, mostly residences, were destroyed by fires, which are still mysterious today. All that remains is their concrete shells.

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Alcatraz Island is particularly well known for its gardens, which are being restored to their former glory. Many plants have been found to still be growing over 100 years after being planted.

Alcatraz was also noted as a decent place to raise a family… outside the prison of course. Some families of prison employees lived on the island, taking boats to San Francisco for school, and other such things. There was never any noted problems of these families mixing with prisoners, and the families rarely thought about the prisoners, according to the audio tour.

I’ll post my final San Francisco set of pictures from the Golden Gate bridge area soon.

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