The Fascinating History of Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz has a many-layered history: Civil War fortress, military prison, federal prison, bird sanctuary, first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement: These are just a few of the fascinating stories of the Rock. Alcatraz Island is a designated National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to the nation's history.
Learn about the military history (1850-1934), the federal penitentiary history (1934-1963) and perhaps the most influential period in the island's history, the American Indian occupation (1964 and 1969-1971) that saved the tribes--and maybe the island too.
Learn about some of the famous (and not so famous) people associated with the Rock.
See items from the National Parks museum collection and learn about other available resources for in-depth research.
Learn how the National Park Service preserves and rehabilitates the island's buildings and structures for future generations.
Last updated: February 12, 2020