Also known as: Alcatraz Island National Historic Landmark; Pacific Branch, U
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, California



1. Historic American Buildings Survey S. F. Examiner Library Signal Corps Photo May 1928

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


Begun as a military fortification and the site of the first U.S. lighthouse on the Pacific Coast (1854), Alcatraz was the first official Army prison in the nation. In 1934, the facility was transferred to civilian authority and it became the repository for the most hardened criminals. Alcatraz represents the far end of the penological spectrum, designed for punishment and incarceration only, rather than rehabilitation. The prison was closed in 1963, and ten years later the island was opened to the public as the first unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, January 17, 1986

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1976
Reference number
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Mission/Spanish Revival
Areas of significance
Commerce; Military; Engineering; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Correctional facility; Military facility; Fortification
Current functions
Museum; Park
Periods of significance
1950-1974; 1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1825-1849; 1925-1949
Significant years
1847; 1934; 1971
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 18
Contributing structures: 28
Contributing sites: 5
Non-contributing structures: 2

Update Log 

  • April 28, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • January 12, 2017: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger