HISTORIC GARDENS of ALCATRAZ ISLAND
WEST-SIDE PRISONER'S GARDENS
WEST ROAD w CELL-HOUSE & WALL
Story of the Historic Alcatraz Gardens
Credit the women of Alcatraz for creating the earliest gardens on this rocky island. These Army wives were quite dismayed upon first inspection of the conditions at 'Fort Alcatraz', their new home, beginning in the late 1850's.
The mostly barren island was devoid of any significant plant life, with just sprigs of wild grasses here and there. The rugged rock had been well 'painted' over eons by the generous 'contributions' from the plentiful seabirds.
Highly visible from fast growing San Francisco, the small, but prominent, seabird droppings encrusted island had previously been called 'Bird Island', 'White Island' . . . and even 'Guano Island' -for it's white veneer!
Legend has it, these pioneering women of Alcatraz were determined to somehow improve a seemingly bleak situation - so they demanded dirt. It would arrive - in timely fashion - barged over mostly from nearby Angel Island. The end results ... you will see below . . .