Escape To Alcatraz

When I was growing up in San Francisco in the 1960s, you would have drawn funny looks had you asked where to get the boat to Alcatraz, the island prison that once was home to Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and Robert "Birdman" Stroud. Back then, the prison was an abandoned, decaying wreck. Local kids told tall tales about "the Rock," my favorite being the one about guards chopping a side fin off each shark so they'd endlessly circle the island to scare prisoners. In 1969, Alcatraz became infamous again when a group of Native Americans occupied the building and spray-painted "Indian land" on its walls. The siege lasted almost two years.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.