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San Francisco Landmarks

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alcatrazisland

Alcatraz


The U.S. government built a lighthouse on Alcatraz Island in 1854. Beginning in 1859, Alcatraz, otherwise known as the Rock, served as a fortress and military prison to defend San Francisco Bay. Due to high operating costs, the government turned Alcatraz over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1934. The Rock was a federal penitentiary until 1963. In 1972, Alcatraz was absorbed into the National Park Service and became a popular San Francisco tourist attraction.

Fun Fact: In addition to serving as a federal prison, Alcatraz has also been a Civil War fort, a bird sanctuary, and the location where the American Indian Red Power movement began.

Photo source: Carol M. Highsmith

Next: Golden Gate Bridge

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