Closure of Alcatraz

The last prisoners walk down Broadway as Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closes
The last prisoners walk down Broadway as Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closes

Historical Context

In 1963 Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closed after serving 29 years as America's toughest prison. It was designed as a maximum security prison for the most violent prisoners and those most likely to attempt escape. Some of its famous inmates included Al Capone, George "Machine-Gun" Kelly, Alvin Karpis (the first "Public Enemy #1"), and Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz".

Thee were 14 attempts to escape Alcatraz and officially no-one ever made it out. However 5 individuals are still listed as "missing and presumed drowned". The prison eventually closed after it became too costly to run and was then incorporated into a new National Park. It opened as a tourist attraction in 1973.

Photo Info


Date taken: March 21, 1963
Location taken: San Francisco, California, USA

Related Events

  • 1963-03-21 Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay is closed
  • 1972-10-26 Guided tours of the former prison at Alcatraz by the National Park Service begin

Related Famous People

Historical Photos