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 F O R T   A L C A T R A Z

  Civil War Era - US Army Military Fortification

                     1850's - 1907

    15" Rodman Cannon

San Francisco @ Upper Right


In late 1848, everything changed for the new state


of California, and especially for the young


settlement of San Francisco - when GOLD was


discovered in the foothills of the state's prominent


Sierra mountain range - just 150 miles east of


the Golden Gate.



And as a result of the discovery, news traveled



quickly around the world - via the new technology of



the telegraph - and tens of thousands of fortune seekers 


, from all points of the compass, boarded ships bound for



the west-coast of America, to start a new life.




The population of San Francisco exploded from an

estimated total of 7,000 men, women, and children - in that



fateful November of 1848 - to an over-whelming 30,000



just two years later!



Fortunately, for the residents of the west



coast's newest city -and it's highly strategic 



harbor-SanFrancisco Bay-plans



were already underway by the



U.S.Government to construct



defensive fortifications



around the harbor,intended to



protect the isolated port from any



sea-faring invaders.




    Model of 'The Citadel'

Construction of Fort Alcatraz was overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and commenced in 1853.


Major excavations reshaped Alcatraz for decades,


which initially included the painstaking creation of steep,


rocky cliffs around the entire perimeter of the island,


except for the dock area on the east side. This


monumental effort was undertaken to ensure that no


un-invited vessel would be able to land on the island.








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