Scenes from the Rock


I learned a lot yesterday while visiting Alcatraz, the first fact being that it is a National Park, and thus we must follow a gazillion rules while there. No stealing things! If you want a piece of the Rock, you buy one in the gift shop for $14.95.

No leaving litter behind either. You aren’t allowed to eat there, except at the landing area, which I understand. People are slobs. If you let them snarfle up snacks while looking in the prison cells and clomping around, soon the whole place would be filled with potato chip bags and juice boxes. It is kind of a strange place to bring little kids, I thought, but what do I know? The ferry was packed with ’em.


I learned that Alcatraz was first a fort, used to defend San Francisco in wartime. Next, it was strictly a military prison from 1915 to the Depression years. Finally, it was used as a maximum security prison from 1934 to 1963. The worst prisoners were sent to the Rock ~ violent unrepentant men who refused to cooperate in regular prisons.


My daughter and I opted for the audio tour, and I learned that this is a great way to go at your own pace through a museum while still getting info. From now on, this is what I’m going to choose when it’s available. (Usually, I wander cluelessly alone because I don’t like guides rushing me.)


Despite its isolation and security, there were still several escape attempts from the Rock. Escapees who were not found were presumed to have drowned. As shown above, in 1946 a prisoner planned a prison takeover and a battle raged inside the walls for 2 days. There was also an occupation in 1969 for over a year by American Indians who wanted attention for various issues. After that was over, the government began to bulldoze the buildings until Congress made Alcatraz into a National Park.


We didn’t get to see all the flowers and birds that thrive on the island, but that’s okay. The buildings were certainly interesting enough. Mini-factoid: the dining hall was considered to be the most dangerous place in the prison.

My daughter and I had a gorgeous but cold 🥶 day in San Francisco! Look at those rain clouds… we returned home just in time. For pizza, that is.

Don’t look, Stan!

If I can’t be in Chicago or New York, my next favorite pizza is Star in Alameda… this is their deep dish spinach mushroom with cornbread crust. So so so good! 😍

Star pizza in Alameda, California


Images all mine!

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

29 responses to “Scenes from the Rock

  1. Thanks for the tour, Paula. Anyone who has coffee in their cell should have double the usual # of guards, as that’s one sharp cookie. I hope none of the escapees drowned. Nice shot of you and your daughter on the island with the bridge in the background. I never had pizza with corn bread crust but it looks amazing. Yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I visited Alcatraz when I was in San Fran about 10 years ago. Such a fascinating place.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That pizza does look like a nice way to end your day. Did you see the cell where the birdman from Alcatraz lived in?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I looked. That looks almost like pizza. No pineapple, so not godawful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How interesting!! I’d love to go there. If I ever make it I’ll keep the audio tour in mind. I don’t like guided tours so much either.


  6. Cornbread crust? I am intrigued…🤔
    Those audio tours are awesome. I did one at a museum here in town… I think it was for the Dead Sea Scrolls, or maybe Pompeii stuff… whatever, they’re great!
    Beautiful pic of you and your little girl😍
    It’s been cold any rainy here in the south🥶😨

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s a sad place.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hope lovely for you to visit with your daughter. Lovely pic too. The pizza looks too good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love Alcatraz. The views are incredible. Last time I went, it was full extended family and teenagers. Time before that, one of those kids napped on my shoulder the whole time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very interesting to learn more about the place and to see the photos you took. Funny they say it’s now a National Park, a museum yes, but park makes it seem like a fun place, which I’m sure it was never that in it’s history.
    My husband worked for over 20 years in the prison here and in another town, too. It is definitely a modern one, whereas this one looks so sad and stark. I’ve seen TV shows, too about Alcatraz being haunted – not hard to believe it.
    Thanks for the tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That was a really great post Paula, informative and interesting.
    My knowledge of Alcatraz is only through Hollywood. I saw Escape from Alcatraz eons ago. Then The Rick starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage .

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Just in case, here’s some info re how they “do” prisons in TN. Of course they’re nowhere near as sophisticated or appealing, at any time, as “The Rock”!
    I was on the board of EOR at the time so my visit was free, including the food, which was excellent and served on prison-type trays, and the whiskey tasting, which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much! I’m not sure I ever would have gone there if I’d had to pay, except maybe to see a concert and then only if the weather wasn’t its typically hot and steamy. The history is interesting too, with a few “claims to fame” like Alcatraz, though of course on a much smaller scale!

    Liked by 1 person

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