Welcome to Alcatraz!
Somehow we missed that this was a national park . . . score . . . since we are hitting several of them on this trip! They said it's the top attraction visited in the US and 8th in the world! Tickets are sold out nearly through the end of the year. It's now the place to be!
It has quite the past as a fortress, followed by a prison, an American Indian Occupation and finally a national park.
Our focus was on the prison. While the views from the island are great (a torment to the prisoners), it is not a place you want to be! It was fascinating to see the fake heads preserved and in bed from the 3 prisoners that escaped the premises (see picture in gallery below).
They each carved an opening under the sink which was disguised and then one night put the fake heads they had created in their beds, climbed out the opening and up pipes to escape from their rooms. They had a raft made from rain jackets. They were never seen again, presumed drowned, but nobody really knows if they made it to shore or not.
William G. Baker (a former inmate) was in the bookstore, whom we met and had sign our book. He had a habit of breaking out of jail from small crimes and was sent to Alcatraz for this reason. Here he moved on to a craft of creating and cashing forged checks, which kept him in jail for many more years, 5 of them at Alcatraz. After having completed the tour, looking forward to reading his book about his life inside Alcatraz.