Looking back on to land from Alcatraz I was reminded how close it was to land. So close but yet to the prisoners so very far. The water temperatures are in the 50s so you wouldn't survive too long swimming in it, there were a lot of currents to pull you under and of course there are sharks. I could only imagine how they would have felt looking back at the land. They were destined to be there forever....
It was quite a walk outdoors up to the actual prison. The buildings were quite oldlike and worn and in shambles.
We chose the audio tour. We were given headphones and a little recorder. Once we stepped inside the actual prison we turned it on and followed the route it directed us to.
Some of the narrators were the voices of these inmates. As we moved along the corridors which were named "Broadway Avenue'' etc. we were directed to stop at certain spots. We were told stories of the particular cells, or rooms or kitchen or corridor by them. We could hear heavy doors slamming in our ears.
Doors to cells like the ones above. In this area they were not allowed to put up anything on the walls or floors. No pictures, no rugs...nothing. There were some other areas perhaps some of the inmates had worked their way up to them. They were allowed to paint and hung their pictures. Or they read books and had them on shelves. It felt very creepy to know that some of them had been told that no one knew they were alive. Friends and relatives had been told they were dead.
There was a siege in the prison from May 2-4, 1946. There had been a lot of planning and chances taken but it didn't go so well. In the above picture some of the inmates are shown in the left pictures and officers on the right. Some of the officers were taken hostage and in the fight were shot. Three prisoners did make it to the water and were never seen again. Could they have been sooo lucky to have made it. No one knows.
The prison was closed in the 60s and the prisoners were taken to other prisons because it was becoming too rundown and expensive to repair.
We were standing there smiling. We were happy and going back home...or at least to tour some more of lovely SanFrancisco.
I hope you are enjoying your day too.... Judi xoxo