Place Category: lighthouse
The Alcatraz Island Tower was built in 1854 and is located in the San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, California. This tower became the first active lighthouse in the West. The earthquake that leveled San Francisco in 1906 heavily damaged the tower and dwelling. This reinforced concrete replacement tower, completed in 1909, stands more than 80 feet tall. It was high enough to be seen above the walls of the military prison that had been built on the island. In the mid 1930’s the prison became a federal penitentiary. Al Capone and other inmates referred to the island simply as “The Rock”. The light was automated in the early 1960’s, about the time the penitentiary was closed.
At the time of my visit in 1999, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained the lighthouse, and the National Park Service maintained the grounds, which was open to the public. Ferries to Alcatraz Island left every half-hour from San Francisco.
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