Garden outside the Citadel.

Military Period - The Post on Alcatraces & U.S. Disciplinary Barracks - 1850-1933

In 1850 Alcatraz was declared a military reservation by President Millard Fillmore, and by 1859 troops were permanently garrisoned at the post on Alcatraces for the defense of the Bay Area.

To learn more about the military history of Alcatraz, from 1850 to 1934. please visit the Post on Alcatraces and Fortress Alcatraz. For more in depth information, visit the timeline of the U.S. Army's military period.

Armed correctional officer in guard tower.

Bureau of Prisons Period - U.S. Penitentiary Alcatraz - 1934-1963

Alcatraz is most famous for the 29 years it operated as a U.S. penitentiary. During this complex period, over 1500 people were incarcerated on the island. Learn how Alcatraz evolved from an army post that contained an army prison into U.S. Penitentiary Alcatraz.

Tipi on grass overlooks bay and SF cityscape

Indians of All Tribes Occupation - 1969-1971

In 1964, and again in 1969-1971, American Indian activists laid claim to Alcatraz Island. Their 19-month occupation would cause significant changes in federal policy and galvanize the Red Power movement. Learn more about the historic occupation by Indians of All Tribes, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Last updated: April 15, 2024

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Mailing Address:

Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
201 Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123


United States Park Police Dispatch: Non-Emergency: 415-561-5505 Emergency: 415-561-5656

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