this day in crime history: march 21, 1963

On this date in 1963, the prison they called “The Rock” was closed by the Department of Justice. The federal penitentiary at Alcatraz opened in 1934. At its peak, it held over 200 inmates. Some of its more famous residents include Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert “Birdman” Stroud.

For more info, check out these sites:

National Park Service Alcatraz website

Alcatraz History

Alcatraz Cruises

Ghosts of Alcatraz

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8 thoughts on “this day in crime history: march 21, 1963

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit some of these places, meaning old prisons and mental institutions. Not because I’m creepy, but I just imagine the wealth of vibes and story ideas one could get! Don’t really want the standard tourist experience though which tends to dilute things badly. I live near the Binghamton, NY Psych Center which at one time was totally self sufficient. They had a farm, heating plant, laundry, etc. Everything handled by the patients until the state came in and decided that instead of working and feeling kind of good about themselves and having a schedule was a bad thing. Farm was closed and other services until patients were pretty much just doped up spectres. Of the original buildings, only the “Castle” exists but is closed and not usable. After the building was closed I remember going up there around twilight to see the ghosts. There was a lady in a rocking chair, a person who was screaming like a banshee, and numerous other events like lights turning on in rooms, footsteps. I also remember a shadow guard who walked around the outside of the building until he disappeared. Thrilling in a way and even though my friends would get frightened I always felt good, like the spirits were friendly. Now it is nearly impossible to see the castle and the road we used to take is blocked.

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  2. John D.:
    God, has it been THAT long?
    I remember when they shot that Dirty Harry flick there (The Enforcer).
    I also would like to tour the place (maybe in one of my next several lives…lol).

    Every time the History Channel has a show on this place…I just have to watch it (again).
    very good post.

    Stay safe up there.

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