Alcatraz Facts

Alcatraz Facts

Alcatraz Facts
Alcatraz is an island located in San Francisco Bay, made famous for its use as a military prison and later a federal prison that housed many notorious prisoners. Alcatraz Island was originally owned by Julian Workman, after it was given by the Mexican governor to him in 1846. He sold the island to the U.S. government in 1846. It became a military compound called Fortress Alcatraz. Civil War prisoners began to be shipped to Fortress Alcatraz in 1861. In 1933 the Fortress became the property of the Bureau of Prisons, and in 1934 the U.S. Department of Justice turned it into a federal prison. The prison would be home to criminals such as Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and the Birdman of Alcatraz - Robert Franklin Stroud.
Interesting Alcatraz Facts:
Alcatraz is named after seabirds. In 1775 the first European sailed through the Golden Gate. He was Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala, and he named the island 'La Isla de los Alcatraces' (which means Island of the Pelicans) because of the many colonies of brown pelicans on the island.
Alcatraz was the site of the first lighthouse on the Pacific Coast. It was built and activated in 1854 but in 1909 was replaced by a taller lighthouse.
Alcatraz operated as a federal prison for 29 years.
During Alcatraz's 29 years as a federal prison there were 14 escape attempts by 36 prisoners. Six prisoners were shot dead. Two drowned. Five went missing and were believed to have drowned. 23 prisoners were caught alive.
It cost $10 a day to house prisoners on Alcatraz as opposed to $3 a day on the mainland.
Al Capone was among some of the first prisoners to be housed at Alcatraz. He tried to bribe the guards for better treatment like he had done in prison in Atlanta but it didn't work. He was convict #85. He was serving a sentence for tax evasion, but he was a known mobster.
Nobody is confirmed to have successfully escape from Alcatraz. Because the bodies of five escaped prisoners were never found, this can't be confirmed.
The Birdman of Alcatraz - Robert Stroud - never had birds in Alcatraz. He had raised canaries in Leavenworth but he was not allowed to have them at all while at Alcatraz.
John Paul Scott was the only known prisoner to escape from Alcatraz and swim to shore. He was so exhausted and in hypothermic shock when he reached the shore that the police had no trouble taking him into custody again.
Although Alcatraz was believed to be a harsher environment for inmates, some prisoners requested transfers to the prison. The warden provided better food and additional servings if desired to help keep rioting down. There was a substantial library and monthly movies at Alcatraz for prisoners as well.
Alcatraz was too expensive to maintain and Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General at the time, ordered the federal prison to be closed on March 21st, 1963.
People can now visit Alcatraz, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.


Related Links:
Facts
US Geography Facts
Animals Facts
Al Capone Facts
The 1920s
Al Capone Facts
The 1920s
US Geography Facts for Kids
Facts: History and Science Facts for Kids
5th Grade History Quiz








Educational Videos