Where the voices of Alcatraz come to life...

Welcome to Alcatraz History

Alcatraz History was designed to help introduce you to the rich history of Alcatraz during the penitentiary years and many of the convicts who called “the Rock” home. From the 1934 until 1963, Alcatraz was America's premier maximum-security prison, the final stop for the nation's most incorrigible prisoners. Today, Alcatraz is a place of contradictions, with a grim past and an enduring future as one of San Francisco's most prominent landmarks and tourist attractions.

AlcatrazHistory.com explores this history through narratives and photos, and serves as an excellent reference for researchers seeking a basic collection of information.

With this work I hope to bring that ideal one small step nearer, but no one realizes so well as I how far short of my goal I have fallen. The road stretches into the dim future, far beyond the possible accomplishments of any single lifetime, but if in this I have been able to point the direction and inspire others to carry on from the point where I have left off, I shall consider my efforts worthwhile.

Robert F. Stroud (Birdman of Alcatraz)
June 1, 1937
Stroud’s Digest on the Diseases of Birds

Further Research

If you find that your interest and research needs go beyond the basic, visit our Bookstore for an exceptional collection of historical reference works by Historian and Author Michael Esslinger. These historical works were created from over twenty years of source record research and first person interviews conducted with numerous Alcatraz prisoners, officers, civilian employees and island family members. You can also find at no cost, a digital e-book of the original Alcatraz Rules & Regulations along with a series of bonus materials, fully searchable and printable (download the PDF).

We also offer direct links to the official concessionaire Alcatraz Cruises to help you book your visit to the Rock with ease and confidence. Additionally, whether you’d like to enhance your visit in person or take a virtual tour, we have links to Guidekick’s amazing Mobile App. The app is also a great way to experience Alcatraz with fully interactive 3D maps, compelling narratives and historical imagery all in the palm of your hand – accessible from home or as an intelligent navigation tool when used on-site.

Additionally, you may visit www.HistoryArchive.com for information on other historical destinations.

Thank you for taking time to visit, and we hope you enjoy learning about the rich history of Alcatraz and its former residents. The Full History page is a good starting point and covers the island's history in modest detail. By following each link you will find information on the most prominent subjects of the island's history. Each link has several sub-links, so be sure to take your time exploring. We hope you enjoy to your visit to the Rock.