Alcatraz prison from the Bay. After being closed in 1963 as a prison, today Alcatraz is operated as a public museum and a major tourist attraction.
of the construction of the recreation yard of the federal penitentiary, no documentation exists of what became of the pre-Civil War and Civil War construction. In 1933, the military use gave way to federal use, and the Alcatraz Island stronghold became a federal prison, opening its doors in 1934. With added buildings constructed, the original complexes were lost, or so historians thought until 2014. A geophysics research team from Texas A&M University, headed by Professor Mark Everett, traveled to California to explore and map the island using ground-penetrating radar. The Texas research team discovered that rather than tearing down the original buildings, the federal government had merely built over them. During the course of the island’s transition to a federal prison, the U.S. government had shipped in dirt, since “The Rock,” as it is often called, had none. They dumped it on top of the existing fortress, leveled it, and built a more modern prison. Under the prison, in which some of the U.S.’s most notorious criminals have resided, the original Civil War fortress still exists. In
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