Monday, 7 January 2013

Wonders Of The Golden West Part 14....

Christmas over it's now time to carry on with telling you more about our Wonders Of The Golden West Tour.  It was our last full day in San Francisco and our scheduled visit to Alcatraz.   On the boat trip across the bay we were amazed to see The Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in mist after how clear it had been the previous day when we had walked across it. 

Often referred to as "The Rock" the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963.  Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Aboriginal Peoples from San Francisco who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

During the 29 years it was in use as a Federal Prison, the jail held some of the worst hoodlums America had ever known, such as Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz), George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Rafael Cancel Miranda (a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party who attacked the United States Capitol building in 1954), Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. "Doc" Barker, James "Whitey" Bulger, and Alvin "Creepy" Karpis (who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate). It also provided housing for the Bureau of Prisons staff and their families.

During its 29 years of operation, the penitentiary claimed that no prisoner successfully escaped. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escape, two drowned, and five are listed as "missing and presumed drowned". The most violent occurred on May 2, 1946, when a failed escape attempt by six prisoners led to the Battle of Alcatraz. On June 11, 1962, Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin carried out one of the most intricate escapes ever devised.  It was fascinating to tour the island prison and hear it's history and see how the prisoners lived.    I hope the slide show of pictures gives you some idea of what a bleak place Alcatraz is.


After an interesting morning on Alcatraz we boarded the boat for our return journey and made our way to Pier 39 to sample some Chowder for lunch before making our way to fulfil another ambition of riding a cable car. The cable car ride was great fun and I managed to video our ride up and down the steep San Francisco streets to our destination, Union Square,where we walked round Macy's before getting a cab back to our hotel for a much needed rest before getting ready for our final dinner in San Francisco, which we enjoyed at Fisherman's Grotto.
I've put together a slide show of where we had lunch etc and the video of our cable car ride, I hope you enjoy them.

Cable Car Video


richies said...

Visiting San Francisco is on my bucket list.

An Arkies Musings

Ron said...


Oh, goodie...I was SO eagerly awaiting your continuing parts of your trip!!!

What an AWESOME post! Love the slideshows AND the video clip of you in the cable car. I've always wanted to see what it felt like to ride one. How FUN!

Very interesting to read about Alcatraz. I have such huge fascination with prisons. Love the shots of you and MWM sitting in jail cells. I bet that felt creepy.

Also, the photos of you eating the soup in a bread bowl made me hungry. I LOVE soup in a bread bowl!

Once again, m'dear...fabulous post!

And thank you for sharing it!


Mama Zen said...

I would love to visit San Francisco!

Secret Agent Woman said...

Did you try shutting yourself in one of the solitary confinement cells in Alcatraz? It's unnerving, to say the least.

I LOVE San Francisco.

Jeff B said...

You really hit the weather perfectly! What a fantastic trip.

Valerie said...

It's no good, I shall HAVE to go there. Not sure about Alcatraz though, a relative told me it was somewhat eerie. Loved the continuation of your trip, Pearl, and the videos. Oh I think I'll go and watch them again.

Maria Perry Mohan said...

My sister visited Alcatraz last year and yesterday I was actually looking at a keyring she gave me as a souvenir. It's nice to read more about it.

Akelamalu said...

I hope you get there Richies, it's fabulous!

We absolutely L.O.V.E.D the cable car ride Ron, quite a bone-rattler but great fun. It was creepy in the cells at Alcatraz but so very interesting. So pleased you enjoyed the post. x

You must Mama Zen, it's a great place.

Yes we did SAW, very creepy. We love SF too.

We were extremely lucky with the weather Jeff, our tour director told us it was the 1st time in 3 months he'd been able to take a party up to Twin Peaks and walk across the bridge because of the weather.

Oh you must go Valerie and you must visit Alcatraz, it's fascinating. Glad you enjoyed the pics and the video. x

Glad you enjoyed reading about our visit to Alcatraz Maria :)

Romance Book Paradise said...

Sounds like a memorable visit.

Banker Chick said...

I am sure you saw some Wells Fargo banks on your tour of SF. That is the bank I was bankerchick at for so many years. I had an opportunity for many trips to the SF area over the years, due to business, but have only seen Alcatraz from the City. I do love San Francisco.

Daryl E said...

isn't SF just wonderful?

Akelamalu said...

It was indeed Romance Book Paradis!

Oh yes we did see lots of Wells Fargo Banks Bankerchick. What a shame you never visited Alcatraz, it's so interesting.

It really is Daryl x

Flowerpot said...

Wow - what have you planned for this year Ak?

Akelamalu said...

Haven't decided yet Flowerpot. Possibly New York, Niagara, Washington and the East Coast of America or China.

Dianne said...

one of my most favorite cities!!
I almost moved to San Francisco years ago but my son had a melt down about leaving family

wonderful slide shows!!

Akelamalu said...

I'd move to San Francisco tomorrow if it didn't mean leaving my family Dianne ;)

Gledwood said...

I think it was in their interest to assume those certain 2 who made it out of Alcatraz had drowned... know what I mean?!?

Maggie May said...

I have distant family in San Francisco but we don't communicate at all because they probably don't know we exist! It sounds a lovely city.

You've certainly visited some lovely places.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Akelamalu said...

I think you're right Gleds! ;)

Oh what a shame Maggie, it would be a great opportunity to go visit them if you were in touch. Yes we have been very lucky. x

G-Man said...

Still in post vacation mode I see.
I'll sure be glad when your Muse returns ...:P:P:P
Have a Kick Ass Week-End anyway

Mike Golch said...

I still think of Lombard Street when I think of S.F.

Cloudia said...

yes, isn't SF just a wonderful place??!!

BTW- your weather widget just gobsmacked me: SO COLD for an AKEMALU girl!

Aloha -
Please enjoy a Free Peak at my Hawaii Novel!
Aloha Where You Like Go?

Travis Cody said...

Now that's a fantastic view of The Bridge. It's all well and good to see it in the clear, but it's not really The Bridge without the mist and fog.

Gledwood said...

Is it minimum minus 4C? No wonder I'm cold..!

tony said...

I,ve always wanted too but never been to San Francisco :( But your post wants me to go even more!It looks a fasinating place.
coincidently , I see some singers from The States called The Handsome Family .They Play Hebden Trades Club in May.One of their most famous songs mention The Golden Gate Bridge [video]

Akelamalu said...

Not really got back into blogging except for holiday reports G-man, hopefully soon. x

The Golden Gate Bridge is what I think of in San Francisco Mike :)

It is indeed Cloudia and yes, it's C.O.L.D. here!

We were lucky we got both views of the Bridge Trav!

It's cold here Gleds!

Oh you must go Tony, it is a fabulous place, so much to see - mist and fog permitting. LOL

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to visit Alcatraz. Great photos.

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