Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

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Alcatraz has had a violent history since it was first put under the control of the U.S. Army in the 1850’s. At first the army put a vast citadel on the island, which was strategically well placed for defending the San Francisco Bay.

Later the army built a penitentiary on Alcatraz, which opened for business in 1861. The isolated spot in the middle of the bay was perfect for a secure prison.

On October 12, 1934, the army sold the island of Alcatraz to the United States Department of Justice, who built a federal penitentiary on the island, upgrading some of the prison buildings the army had built. Over time some of the most famous gangsters were imprisoned on the island, including Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly.

The history of Alcatraz hasn’t been all violent. The first lighthouse on the west coast was built on the island, and in 1964 Native Americans occupied the island, where they protested peacefully for nearly two years.

In 1976 Alcatraz was put on the National Register of Historic Places.

The guide
The guide to Alcatraz will guide you through your visit to the island. The guide includes description of 19 of the most important structures, and will provide a variety of functions.

GPS controlled area map
The guide to Alcatraz uses a GPS powered map, which will give you an overview of the island. Also, if you allow GPS tracking, then the guide will show your exact position on the island.

Description of 19 buildings
The guide provides a description of the 19 most important buildings on Alcatraz. The descriptions are given in text that can be read out loud to you using TTS (automatic text to speech functionality) and it includes pictures from present day, markings of the specific building on a map and pictures of what the buildings used to look like in the old days.

The background history of Alcatraz Island
The guide provides a detailed description covering the entire known history span of Alcatraz from the 1850s to present day.

Route planner
By using the route planner, you can put together your own personal version of the guided tour through the island.

Suggested route
The guide to Alcatraz also suggests a tour of the island. This is Excavations Guides suggestions of what to see when visiting the island. However, we recommend that you plan your own guided tour by using the route planner.

Audio guide
By using TTS, short for “Text To Speech” the guide will read the texts in the app out loud to you, and thereby act as an audio guide. The functionality uses your device’s build in TTS voice, meaning that the size of the guide app to Alcatraz is kept low.

For more information about the guide
Please see the extensive description of the different functionalities available in the guided tour app for Alcatraz by checking out our “Guide description”.

The buildings included in the guide

  • Baker Beach
  • Boat Dock
  • Building 64
  • Dining Hall
  • Former Military Chapel (Bachelor Quarters)
  • Parade Grounds
  • Lighthouse
  • Main Cellhouse
  • Model Industries Building
  • The Morgue
  • New industries building
  • Officers Club
  • Power House
  • Recreation Yard
  • Warden’s House
  • Alcatraz water tower
  • Associate Warden & Captain of the Guard duplex
  • Residential Family Cottages
  • Toolshed Terraces

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