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Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California

 
Alcatraz Island was a military fortification, a military prison and  a federal prison  It was also occupied in 1969 was by  a group of Native Americans from San Francisco for about 19 months. They wanted
complete Indian control over the island for building a  cultural center that included Native American Studies. The occupation didn't accomplish their goals but  inspired over 200 instances of civil disobedience among Native Americans across the country.
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The island is most remembered for being a maximum security federal penitentiary that
 operated from 1934 to 1963. It housed notorious prisoners that caused trouble at other federal prisons.
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Alcatraz Island is managed by the National Park Service and is open for tours.  It's 1.25 miles away from San Francisco and a quick 15 minute ferry ride from Pier 33. The few times I've been I've been impressed with the tour of the island. Guides and audio tours are great and the audio tour features former prisoners and guards talking about their experiences.  The Island draws a million and a half visitors a year and for good reason.
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Alcatraz  has the oldest operating lighthouse on the  West Coast and a seabird colony. It has beautiful views of San Francisco and the Bay. The Island is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and has received the designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

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