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.