Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Try To Escape From Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island is like two-faced Yanus. One of its faces symbolizes rescue and hope, because in 1853 the first lighthouse was installed here. It saved many hundreds of ships heading for California during the gold rush. It helped them even when it was extremely foggy - in such weather conditions the bell was used instead of the light signal.
And the other face symbolizes despair, hopelessness and death. In 1909 Alcatraz turned into the prison having become the symbol of inaccessibility afterwards.

To get to Alcatraz one should hire a boat. There is plenty of various boats which supply local restaurants with the fresh fish.

Modern art.

A cannon sometime guarding the bay of San-Francisco.

Several minutes after sailing one can already see clear and easily recognized contours of the island.

Some history about this place.
In 1775 the Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala came to the bay of San-Francisco. It was his expedition which created a map of the bay and called this place Alcatraces. At the beginning of the 1850s a citadel intended to guard the island was built here. There were more than 100 cannons on its territory and the place was one of the most protected on the West Coast.
In 1861 the fortress became a military prison. But in 1909 it was demolished (only foundation was left). And a new prison was erected instead of the old one. The military men used it till 1934. Then authorities decided to organize the prison of the cruelest conditions on the island.
The picture of Alcatraz of 1985.

When one comes closer to the island at sunset, it seems you're taking part in a film. Ruins of buildings, a lighthouse, unaccessible rocks... all this impresses quite a lot.

The distance from the island to the pier isn't very long. It takes 40 minutes for the ferryboat to reach the land. But one can hardly imagine a man able to swim to the shore in the ice water.

Hundreds of sorrowfully crying gulls supplement the bright picture of the mysterious place.

An advertising airship hovering above the island.

Towers look like new.

It's easy to imagine the officers running down the spiral stairs having been woken up by the alarm.

A shining lorry of the times of the prohibition law stands at the entrance of the museum of Alcatraz.

The guide telling about the "guests" of the prison.

Famous Al Capone got here in 1934 was among them.

Recreated working atmosphere.

The shoes of the prisoners waiting for their owners after the shower.

In spite of the ill fame of Alcatraz, the conditions were quite good there. One of its main advantages was single cells with all the conveniences.

But some prisoners had a really bad luck though. They got the cells with broken toilets and had to endure terrible suffering.

Over the last 100 years nothing has changed. That's how it looked.

That's how it looks.

From the walking ground one can see the Golden Gates. When the weather was fine prisoners could hear voices of the people bathing on the beach of San-Francisco. Freedom was so close...

And at the same time so far...

Only when you see the prison from the inside you realize how difficult it was to escape from it. Still there were some attempts.

The most famous attempt belongs to clever Frank Morris and brothers Englin. They escaped on the 11th of June in 1962.
Their escape was preceded by long and careful preparation. They made a drill of a metal spoon and drilled the concrete for an hour a day. In this way, they reached a service tunnel located in a wall. Not to be noticed before the needed time they made the heads of wax and put them under the blankets. 

These are real craftworks of the prisoners kept in a museum.

They have never been arrested again and now are considered to be missing. By the way, the film "Escape from Alcatraz" is based on this story.

And these are cells with real pictures of the prisoners.

The water machine has been already used for half a hundred of years in America.

Well, everybody who visited Alcatraz says this place really impresses. It's indeed a wonderful island with a wonderful history.
via boccioni

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