Alcatraz prison closed 50 years ago today

alcatraz-aerial.jpgThe last federal inmates — 27 "pale, quiet men" — left the island in San Francisco Bay by boat for transfer to other prisons. Alcatraz had held the Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen until a month earlier. The crumbing prison was abandoned after a couple of escape tries and the increasing costs of maintaining a high-security institution reachable only by boat. Nice history piece at the San Francisco Chronicle, talking to a former guard and former inmate.

Also in our Bay Area report: The damage from a March 8 fire at Berkeley landmark Chez Panisse is worse than first thought. An April 15 target date for reopening is not realistic.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Beverly Center reopened after bomb scare, evacuation
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Alcatraz prison closed 50 years ago today
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