Nothing speaks more about the idea of American reclamation of land, and that ever prevalent idea of Manifest Destiny than the small island named Alcatraz. From military base, to prison, to Native American refuge and now tourist trap, this island has been through many different transformations. What it has always maintained though is the idea or feeling of intrigue and mystery. The algae covered walls hide years of history. Seagulls nest where prison guards once dined. As you pull into port you see the signs of the Native uprising against the government. The floor of the cell block bares the scars from tear gas that U.S. Marines used to calm a prison riot.
Most of all, everywhere you turn you see the signs of age and deterioration. This is what intrigues me. These signs are the real history. They speak about what this place and institution has gone through and what it has now become. I find it amazing that a place could at one time house the popular gangster figure Al Capone and now tourist shuffle through cell blocks on their way to the gift shop.