Alcatraz as a Tourist Attraction Essay

3109 Words 13 Pages
It's 1934, prohibition is the law, and organized crime is booming. You've been convicted of tax evasion and have spent the last couple years at the Atlanta U.S. Penitentiary. With several thousand dollars stuffed in the hollow handle of your tennis racket, and a warden in your pocket, you've been living life like a king. But all that's about to come to and end, you find yourself standing on Pier 41, Fisherman's Warf, San Francisco bay. It's early morning and the fog obscures your view. As it starts to lift and recede into the ocean, it takes along with it all forms of courage and hope that still remain within you. All that's left is the view before you, twenty-two acres of solid granite surrounded by a fast moving sea of icy waters. …show more content…
The weather on the island is cold and windy most to the time, and, with exception to the other tourist, the feeling you get while there is one of bitterness and despair. So how has this island managed to survive this long? It has survived through the interest of the people that do not inhabit it. It has survived because of tourism.

So how has Alcatraz transformed from one of the most feared prisons of its time, to one of San Francisco's most popular tourist attractions? I feel this question demands an answer because no other prison in U.S. history has ever been so popular for so many different reasons. It started as a U.S. Army fort, then became a high security prison, was then the inspiration to the Indian Movement, and ended its career to this day as a popular tourist attraction. I feel that the fears and stories that have escaped from the island during the time it was a federal prison, have heightened people's curiosity about what it was like to be a prisoner of "The Rock." Each day more and more people venture to Pier 41, they buy their ticket aboard the Old Blue, and start their adventure to the island of the unknown. "Experience the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary" (Blue & Gold Fleet, 2001). This is one of the many advertisements the Blue & Gold Fleet offer to tourist in hopes of attracting business. And after waiting in line for over an hour just to get tickets, I don't think they need to worry about…