My senior year of high school I saw "The Rock" on TV. I was very excited, not only because they always edit rated R movies when they show them on TV, but I had a mad crush on Sean Connery...nothing like an old man with a beard to get me all hot and bothered! I loved the car chase scenes through the streets of San Francisco, the rendezvous with his daughter at the Palace of Fine Arts, and the incredible shots of Alcatraz. Ever since then I have been wanting to stand on 'the rock' and see, first hand, the infamous jail that is Alcatraz.
Oddly enough, after so many visits to the bay area and then moving here a couple years ago, I still had not made the voyage. It wasn't until Maren came into town and she expressed interest that I decided to fork out the money. I couldn't have been more pleased! The tour is so well done and extremely educational, not to mention that the jail itself has an eery beauty to the grounds and buildings. I loved it so much that I took Janelle and Jason on the tour as well. We planned it for the weekend so Dallas could join.
The history of Alcatraz is pretty amazing. The tour begins with a brief video about the main events that occurred on the island. Then you are free to explore, with the audio tour beginning in the main cell house. Alcatraz was America's main maximum-security prison from 1934-1963 with famous inmates such as Al "Scarface" Capone, "Machine Gun" Kelly, Alvin "Creepy Karpis", and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud.
The tour recounts the Battle of Alcatraz where a standoff between inmates and guards resulted in three inmates and two guards dead. They detail the accounts of some of the escapes from the prison (36 prisoners attempted throughout the years, but only 3 may have survived.) Mainly the tour shows you the inmate's day to day life. We were able to walk through the cafeteria, exercise yard, library, showers, visitation windows, and the rows of tiny cells.
What amazes me is how eerily beautiful it all is. Whether it's the corroding metal or the cobwebbed filled bars, the deteriorating brick slowly being over taken by natural foliage or simply the knowledge of so many men being imprisoned where we were standing, I'm not sure.
Whatever the case, it gave us some GREAT picture opportunities...so we took them!
Janelle and Jason really took the tour seriously... a little too seriously!