Back to Alcatraz

Ready for more Alcatraz?


Since Alcatraz didn’t have a water supply of its own, water was imported from the mainland by tug and barge. This water tower was built in 1941.


The dining hall. Inmates were permitted to eat as much as they wanted in 20 minutes, but if they left food, it was reported and prisoners could lose privileges if they did it often.
Prisoners had to eat in complete silence.
On the ceiling rafters there were tear gas canisters which could be activated by remote control if inmates tried to riot or escape.


Here’s a closeup of one of the walls. As you can see, the paint is peeling and there’s a lot of erosion. Salt air is so hard on everything it touches.


One of the solitary confinement cells. I was surprised to learn that there was no light once the inmate was inside. These cells were also soundproof and very cold. I think I would have gone insane.

We were happy to take a break and go outside in the yard.


We went through this door.


Inmates were allowed out in the yard on Saturdays and Sundays and on holidays for a maximum of five hours. I always thought prisoners got outside every day. Maybe it’s that way now?

Even though the yard is pretty small, inmates played basketball, baseball and softball.


That’s the top of the New Industries Building with part of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

Back inside the prison.


One of the bookshelves in the prison library. The room is empty now, but once held 15,000 books, mostly from the army days. A chaplain censored magazines, removing violent material.


Where prisoners talked to visitors. They were allowed one visit per month from immediate family members or approved visitors. Visitation was from 1:30 to 3:10 p.m. weekdays.


The guards’ control room. I’m just noticing the cigarette in the ashtray now.

That was basically the end of the prison tour,and once again we were outside in the beautiful weather.


The administration building where non-prisoners worked.


The ruins of the warden’s home. The three-story, fifteen-room mansion was built in 1921 and must have been pretty grand.


The views are jaw-dropping. Talk about contrast: the wardens often held lavish cocktail parties here.


The warden’s view of the San Francisco skyline.


We exited through this tunnel.

Before leaving the island, we went into the bookstore which was huge.


I was tempted to buy one of these cups like the inmates used. For about ten seconds. It’s not a place I want to remember every time I take a drink.


Something tells me the transfers didn’t happen very often.

If you’re interested, you can see the prison hospital if you take a night tour. No thanks, the place is creepy enough in the daytime!

Hope your week’s going well so far.


About pearlsandprose

Photography. With a little life thrown in.
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14 Responses to Back to Alcatraz

  1. smackedpentax says:

    Wow! I was waiting for this – it didn’t disappoint! Great shots and a superb narrative. I once read a book on Capone but it didn’t go into much detail about Alcatraz. This just adds so much to the story. Thanks again for sharing πŸ™‚

  2. anroworld says:

    Dear Carole, it was really very interesting and enthralling tour. I have never thought I could be in such a place and your opened for us this curtain. It’s awfully creepy, but fascinating as well! Thank you!

  3. susan says:

    Wow – solitary cells were horrific – and no lights ?!? What a nightmare – a good illustration of cruel and inhumane treatment ! But what a historically significant spot – glad you got to tour it and experience vicariously prison life of that time period.

    • Yeah, I thought total darkness was a bit much. They had to sit on the cold cement all day too. One inmate later claimed he only got one real meal in 19 days–the rest of the time he got three pieces of bread.

  4. Caroline says:

    Sounds like it was a harsh prison. Not sure why they had to speed eat. Sounds awful. and no light in the cells. But the view from the isalnd is stunning. Thanks for this tour.

  5. Deepika Ramesh says:

    The warden’s view is breathtaking. πŸ™‚

  6. A night tour? *shudder*
    You were there on a beautiful day and it was creepy enough!

  7. joshi daniel says:

    nice rusted look πŸ™‚

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