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Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay
"The Rock," Alcatraz Island and its military prison in the San Francisco Bay

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The First Prisoners Arrived at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary
August 11, 1934

Where do you put a group of prisoners considered "most dangerous?" In 1934, they went to a place called "The Rock." Officially called Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, "The Rock" opened for business on August 11, 1934, when the first group of federal prisoners arrived. For 29 years the federal prison system kept high-security prisoners in lockup there. It's called "The Rock" because it's an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Today you can take a ferryboat and visit the actual cells where inmates lived.
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