Alcatraz History

A park ranger leads a program at Alcatraz Island
Gateways Article
Ranger Oliver Goodman was raised in a family where "nobody hiked, nobody camped," but attending protests and participating in community events were a part of everyday family life. Alcatraz immediately struck him.
The view from the Alcatraz Cruises boat to Alcatraz Island.
Parks
Get a sneak peek at new things to find on the island as we celebrate 50 years of Alcatraz being open to the public as a national park site.
The Gardener of Alcatraz
Alcatraz Historic Gardens
A prisoner gardens his way to freedom in this inspiring picture-book biography.
Alcatraz historic gardens
Our Work
Take a virtual tour of the Alcatraz Historic Gardens
Our Work
Resident families introduced roses to Alcatraz during the military era, between 1850 and 1934. Surprisingly, roses thrived under these conditions and soon filled Alcatraz’s first gardens.
Mugshot of Alcatraz inmate and gardener Albert Smith
Stories
Albert Smith, found guilty of four counts of robbery, was sentenced to serve 10 to 24 years in prison. He was sent to Alcatraz in 1945 after an attempted escape, and began work duties as a gardener the following year.
Historical mugshot of Richard Franseen, Alcatraz Inmate and gardener.
Stories
Richard Franseen was sentenced to Alcatraz from 1937 to 1946 for counterfeiting. By 1940, he was assigned to yard duties, tending to a greenhouse and a little garden.
Mugshot of Elliot Michener, Alcatraz inmate and gardener.
Stories
After being sentenced for counterfeiting in 1941, Elliott Michener was involved in an escape plot from Leavenworth Prison and then sent to Alcatraz. He spent years on the island's west side creating cottage-style gardens.
Rose 'Buff Beauty'
Parks
Resident families introduced roses to Alcatraz during the military era, between 1850 and 1934. Surprisingly, roses thrived under these conditions and soon filled Alcatraz’s first gardens.