First off, I’d like to start this post by saying Happy Birthday to good ole Dr. Seuss! Born on March 2nd, 1904 and died on September 24th, 1991. He will always be one of my very favorite poets.
Now, on with the show!
Last time, we left off with the ferry ride to Alcatraz Island.
This is where we gathered for tour instructions before we were let loose on the complex.
There are other buildings to explore than just the main cellhouse, and depending on how much time you have, you could easily spend a good part of your day on the island.
The Officer’s Club
Some of the residential apartments.. time worn and ram shackled.. with a door leading to nowhere.
When you enter the cellhouse, you walk through the “check in” area where new inmates shower in the open and are given their uniforms.
A typical cell.
One thing that struck me about the cellhouse was its size. It is much smaller than what I had pictured in my mind. It’s still dismal and depressing, don’t get me wrong, but I always had this vision of it being huge and cavernous. Not the case!
See? Dismal and depressing. Check.
This is the view as you start to descend the steps into the “recreation yard”. There are a few places in the complex where you get beautiful views of the water or the city skyline. I can imagine it didn’t do much for the prisoner’s moods when they are surrounded by such beauty and knowing they’ll likely never get near it again.
The recreation yard. Looks inviting, no?
Looking back toward the cellhouse.
Jason saw the sunlight on our faces and took my camera to grab this shot. That’s a clear sign he’s been hanging around photographers for too long.
Solitary confinement, or “The Hole” as it is not so affectionately called. This area was made famous by several movies, including one of my favorites – Murder in the First starring Kevin Bacon.
Matt in” The Hole.” I was hesitant to touch anything in the cells.. though I know it’s been washed several times over, there is NO TELLING what has been on those walls and floors. Ick.
A bookshelf in the library.
The pock marks you see in the floor here are from grenade explosions during an unsuccessful escape attempt in 1946, now called The Battle of Alcatraz.
Lighthouse with San Francisco skyline in the background.
Could you imagine seeing that much freedom and never being able to touch it? During the audio tour, we learned that on New Year’s, the prisoners could hear the sound of merriment drifting across the bay. Talk about twisting the knife.
The most famous Alcatraz escape attempt in 1962. Prisoners enlarged vent holes using crude tools fashioned from spoons.
Mock-up of the plaster masks used to fool prison guards on the night of the escape.
Ever been to Alcatraz? Tell me about it!