transformation of alcatraz island? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread


Does anyone know the history of Alcatraz island regarding the redeveloping of its land? Specifically, I'm looking for the following answers:

1) When was it first inhabited?

2) What existed there before a prison?

3) What was knocked down to create the prison?

4) What year was a prison created there?

thank you so much for your help!

-- Matt R. (, November 28, 2000


You can find great answers to your questions by going to the Alcatraz/NPS web site In a nutshell:

1) There is no evidence of Alcatraz being inhabited prior to the US Army taking up residency there in the 1850s

2) Prior to the US Penitentiary, Alcatraz was a US Army Fortress, later a US Army Prison (Disciplinary Barracks). In 1854, the first lighthouse on the West Coast began operation on Alcatraz. There is still a functional lighthouse in virtually the same spot, but rebuilt in 1909. It is the lighthouse that makes Alcatraz historically significant, not the military years or prison years.

3) The upper portion of the Citadel (Fortress) was knocked down to construct the Army Prison (later, the prison was slightly remolded before the Bureau of Prisons moved in). The lower portion of the Citadel constitutes the foundation of the prison building.

4) Military Prison: 1907-1933 Federal Penitentiary: 1934- 1963. During its time as a Fortress, there were stockades, cells and “dungeons” for the soldiers, like any military facility would have.

-- jj (, November 30, 2000.

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