Yerba Buena Island's name appeared on Ayala's 1775 chart of San Francisco Bay as "Isla de Alcatraces", but was later transferred to the rock now known as Alcatraz Island by Captain Beechey, an English naval officer and explorer. Over the years, the Spanish version "Alcatraz" became popular and is now widely used.
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- Al Capone played banjo in the inmate band. The notorious gangster and mob boss was among the first prisoners to occupy the new Alcatraz federal prison in August 1934.
- There were no confirmed prisoner escapes from Alcatraz. A total of 36 inmates put the supposedly “escape-proof” Alcatraz to the test. Of those convicts, 23 were captured, six were shot to death and two drowned.
- Alcatraz is named for sea birds. Before criminals became its denizens, the windswept island was home to large colonies of brown pelicans. When Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala became the first known European to sail through the Golden Gate in 1775, he christened the rocky outcrop “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” meaning “Island of the Pelicans.”
- In spite of his nickname, the “Birdman of Alcatraz” had no birds in the prison. While Robert Stroud was serving a manslaughter sentence for killing a bartender in a brawl, he fatally stabbed a guard at Leavenworth Prison in 1916.
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The escape, which the Federal Bureau of Prisons bestowed with the name “Hollywood,” was turned into the 1979 movie “Escape from Alcatraz,” starring Clint Eastwood as Morris.
- Stephen Sorace
Apr 26, 2016 · 3. “The Rock” (1996): Though set on, well, The Rock, very little of the movie was actually filmed on Alcatraz. “If you see that movie, it doesn’t look anything like this,” says Kelcie ...
Nov 22, 2018 · Different parts of Alcatraz were designated for different uses, such as the kitchen area and the staff and employee housing. One of the sections was primarily used for staff offices and to store various supplies needed for the operation of the facility. But this office and storage space at times did double-duty, according to American-Historama ...
Jun 07, 2020 · Alcatraz was the first island in the San Francisco Bay to be fortified, and so it was the first island where members of the military in the area were stationed. At first, the island was used to train recruits and new units for the Union during the Civil War.
- Extreme Punishment. At the best of times, conditions in Alcatraz were not exactly a barrel of laughs, but there was a particularly harsh punishment for prisoners who refused to follow the rules of the prison.
- Battle of Alcatraz. The Battle of Alcatraz, or the “Alcatraz Blastout” as it was also known, took place between May 2nd and 4th, 1946. Six prisoners managed to get hold of weapons and cellhouse keys, but there was a minor hitch in their plans.
- Mysterious Death. There were many stories of paranormal activity in Alcatraz, and one particular incident occurred in Cell 14D. Sometime in the 1940s, a prisoner who was locked in the cell screamed all night that something with glowing eyes was trying to kill him.
- You’ve Gotta Have a Hobby. Stroud was sent to prison for killing a bartender who attacked one of his prostitutes when he was a pimp, and he quickly became known as a violent and dangerous inmate.
Apr 14, 2018 · Al Capone, who spent his last years at Alcatraz with his health in decline from untreated syphilis, took up playing the banjo with a prison band. Fearing that he would be killed if he spent his recreational time in the prison yard, Capone received permission to spend recreation time practicing his banjo in the shower room.