Islands capture the imagination with their promise of privacy and seclusion but those qualities can also mean isolation.
Islands are the ideal site for cemeteries, quarantine zones, or prisons. With only a causeway or a boat for access, getting off the island depends on tides or ferry crossings. An ideal setting for mystery …
Let’s look at 9 unusual islands that offer visitors more than sunshine and sandy beaches.
1. Alcatraz, San Francisco
Immortalized on film in The Rock, Alcatraz is perhaps best known as a prison island. It’s also been a lighthouse, a Civil War fortress, and a bird sanctuary.
The prison started life in 1868 as a jail for military personnel. The military jailhouse closed in 1933 and reopened as a federal prison in 1934. Famous prisoners include Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz.
Alcatraz only operated until 1963. In its 29-year history, 36 inmates made 14 escape attempts. All but two prisoners were killed or recaptured.
The island became a National History Landmark in 1986. Now, you can take a boat trip out to Alcatraz when you visit San Francisco.
Find the small morgue near the main entrance. The clinic, psych ward, and operating room are on the second floor beyond the main cell blocks. They’re all eerie places to visit.