On 21 March 1963, Alcatraz federal prison closed its crumbling doors and walls to criminals forever. During its 30 year history as a penitentiary, The Rock hosted many dramas including a gun battle and 14 escape attempts. Some of the key events in its history were covered by Pathe News at the time.
1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco lies Alcatraz island. The island was initially developed as a military garrison and then in 1868 it became a military prison. In 1934, Alcatraz became a federal prison housing some of America's worst criminals.
The penitentiary was only in operation for 29 years. It claimed that no prisoner successfully escaped. A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escape, two drowned, and five are listed as "missing and presumed drowned".