On Sunday, August 10, the National Park Service is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the day that the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary welcomed (perhaps there's a better word for that…) the first prisoners transferred from other penitentiaries in August of 1934.
Until its closure in 1963 "The Rock" was home to "the worst of the worst” prisoners in the Federal system, as well as including housing for many guards and their families.
Visitors will have the chance to meet some of those people August 10 on Alcatraz, talk with them, take photos, ask questions and learn about the history of the island and the prison.
"Alumni" present at the event will include guards, family members and two of the last surviving ex-convicts who served time on Alcatraz. The event will feature presentations and opportunities to talk to Alcatraz Alumni, and the U.S. Post Office will be hand-cancelling official commemorative mail from Alcatraz Island.
A band playing Johnny Cash songs in the cell house, although I( can't decide if it's incongruous, ironic or iconic to hear "Stuck in Folsom Prison" while you're inside the prison at Alcatraz!
Several of the returning alumni have written books about their lives on the island and will have books available for signing.
When visitors arrive on the dock at Alcatraz there will be posted schedules for the various events.
Alcatraz tickets sell out weeks in advance during the summer, so a limited supply was reserved to ensure that people who just want to attend this special event have the chance to do so. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, August 8.
Photo Credit: Chase Elliott, accessed 8/1/14