I can remember as a boy visiting San Francisco in the late 50s and early 60s, and seeing Alcatraz. I felt then that just a mile away were some very bad people. People like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Alvin Karpis called this “home”
It was America’s maximum-security prison. It was said that “Break the rules, you go to prison. Break the prison’s rules, you go to Alcatraz.”
I went there 40 years ago, when the National Park Service would give guided tours. My nephew was visiting from the Midwest, and wanted to see Alcatraz
Thought you’d like to see it, too. If you go to SF you should buy your tickets ahead of time, through the NPS approved vendor. And the summer gets pretty crazy. The way you take the tour this time is a bit different from 40 years ago. You are issued headphones and an audio player. I thought this was worse than the guided tours but soon changed my mind. It is a win-win for both the NPS and the tourists. The tourist sees it at his own pace – and they get more people through the island. Your “guides” on the audio are 4 retired correctional officers, and 4 ex-inmates. You can see it at your own pace
One thing that struck me – if the view from San Francisco to the Rock seemed foreboding, to the inmates viewing San Francisco it had to have been torture. As one inmate said on a cool still winter night, they could hear the noises of the city coming through the air.
With that let’s start your tour