Imagine yourself cold and shivering on a damp and thickly fogged morning. Heavy steel shackles squeeze your wrists and ankles, and the constricting metal seems to amplify the cold. Your movements are constrained, which makes it difficult to maintain your balance as you embark on the island ferry. You catch a brief glimpse of what will soon be your new home across the foggy bay. Your new roommates are considered the most hardened criminals in the American penal system. Their resumes boast crimes ranging from kidnapping to espionage, bank robbery to murder. As you disembark with the firm assistance of a correctional officer, he smiles, looking up toward the cellhouse, and utters words that will never leave your memory: "Welcome home, welcome to Alcatraz.".
As many us know Alcatraz was a prison on the bay, which house some of the most dangerous criminals of the 20's and 30's, but many do not know why Alcatraz was build and what happen to the famous prison after its shut down. .
Before Alcatraz became one the most famous penitentiary, there was its fascinating military history. In 1775, the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel was the first to sail into what is now known as San Francisco Bay. His expedition mapped the bay, and named one of the three islands Alcatraces; over time, the name was Anglicized to Alcatraz. In 1850, a presidential order set aside the island for possible use as a United States military reservation. The California Gold Rush, the resulting boom in the growth of San Francisco, and the need to protect San Francisco Bay led the U.S. Army to build a fortress, at the top of the island in the early 1850's. The Army also made plans to install more than 100 cannon on the island, making Alcatraz the most heavily fortified military site on the West Coast. Together with Fort Point and Lime Point, Alcatraz formed a "triangle of defense" designed to protect the entrance to the bay. The island was also the site of the first operational lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States.