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.

  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Jan. 29 2015 10:02 AM Listen to Our Conversation With Patton Oswalt About Movies A podcast from our live event, exclusively for Slate Plus members.