Alcatraz​ Was More Interesting Before It Became a Famous Prison

Then, again.
Aug. 13 2014 1:21 PM

The Rock, Pre-Capone​ 

The long history of Alcatraz​ before it became America's first supermax prison.

111846878-boat-passes-in-front-of-alcatraz-island-on-april-7-2011
Alcatraz.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Famous for housing a who's-who of criminals and murderers, Alcatraz made a name for itself as the country's first supermax prison. But before Capone, Stroud, Kelly, and Bulger moved in, the island that the prison called home already had a worthy history of its own. The video above traces the evolution of Alcatraz before it began accepting civilian prisoners exactly 80 years ago this week.

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