When we started planning out our trip to San Francisco, we weren't sure if we wanted to go to Alcatraz. It didn't really seem all the exciting. After talking to several people, we decided it was definitely something we shouldn't miss. I'm glad we went. It's definitely worth going to see and actually very beautiful. Here's a little history: In 1854 the first lighthouse on the Pacific coast began operation on Alcatraz. In 1861 the first civilian prisoners arrive on Alcatraz. In 1915 Alcatraz formally becomes "Pacific Branch, US Disciplinary Barracks" a military prison. In 1934 after transfer from the War Department to the Department of Justice, Alcatraz reopens as a federal penitentiary. In 1963 Robert F Kennedy orders Alcatraz closed. In 1973 the National Park Service developed interpretive programs, and the first visitors arrive on Alcatraz. The cell house was never filled to capacity. It could hold 336 prisoners, but the average number was 260 and the max was 302. There were no executions on Alcatraz, but there were 5 suicides and eight murders. Prisoners remained on Alcatraz an average of 8-10 years, until they were no longer considered to be disruptive or incorrigible. There were no female correctional officers or prisoners on Alcatraz. The only females on the island were officers' wives and children.