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Alcatraz Island is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and located in the middle the Bay of San Francisco. The island is also known as The Rock or simply Alcatraz and is arguably best known for being home to the legendary federal penitentiary. Before being turned into a prison the small island was home to the first lighthouse and US fort on the West Coast, from 1907 on it was used as the Western US Military Prison, although it held military prisoners already as early as 1861 and from 1934 to 1963 it was used as a prison. During these years it held infamous criminals like Al Capone and claims that no prisoner has ever managed to escape successfully. Since 1976 Alcatraz Island can be found on the National Register of Historic Places and later on it was also declared a National Historic Landmark. The island can be reached by ferry from Pier 33 and is open to visitors. Guided and self-guided tours around the island are available. It is recommended to reserve tickets in advance, especially during holiday seasons.