Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/27/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Subterranean tunnel system found underneath former prison site

At one time, Alcatraz was the United States most impenetrable and forbidding prison. The island destination today is now little more than a destination for visitors touring San Francisco, California. However, scientists say there's much more to "the Rock" than imprisonment. New discoveries made by researchers suggest a rich, hidden history lying beneath its prison walls.

The formerly 'escape-proof' jail now hosts more than a million tourists visit each year.

The formerly "escape-proof" jail now hosts more than a million tourists visit each year.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/27/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Alcatraz, recreation yard, prison, fortress, history


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A team from Texas A&M University have slowly dragged ground-penetrating radar along the ground of the prison's recreation yard. According to Professor Mark Everett, "The cart has a transmitter and a receiver - it sends an electromagnetic wave into the ground that then reflects off all the different structures underneath. Much like medical imaging would make a scan of the body, we are making a scan of the ground under the 'rec' yard."

Scientists are uncovering a hidden history lying beneath the prison of Alcatraz.

Scientists are uncovering a hidden history lying beneath the prison of Alcatraz.


The area was previously an area where inmates could spend an hour a week away from the confines of the main block. The yard has long covered up a vital bit of Californian history. Researchers have found the remains of a military fortress, long thought to have been destroyed.

Saint Patrick's Day is coming  -- go here --

This image, taken in 1868, shows one of the many cannons that formed part of the garrison.

This image, taken in 1868, shows one of the many cannons that formed part of the garrison.


Still enclosed by 20-foot walls, Everett points to a spot in the yard where he has found evidence of a subterranean tunnel system.

"(The tunnels) would have been used for the fortifications. There would have been movement of man and ammunition; it would have been bomb proof and covered with earth so it would have been protected," he explains.

The fortress saw little action, and in 1903 it was turned into a military prison.

The fortress saw little action, and in 1903 it was turned into a military prison.


"We get signatures that indicate there is not only a tunnel, but magazine buildings too." Traced back to the 19th Century, these structures were built at a pivotal moment in U.S. history.

"I think most people know that in 1848 gold was discovered in California, and before that time San Francisco was really a very small town," Jason Hagen, the historical architect for the National Park Service says.

Many traces of the fortress vanished, but some are now being rediscovered using ground-penetrating r

Many traces of the fortress vanished, but some are now being rediscovered using ground-penetrating radar.


"But once gold was discovered here, San Francisco became a very important port for the country and for the west coast, and so protecting it really was the point of building the fortress of Alcatraz."

Alcatraz Island's strategic value became even more important with the outbreak of the American civil war in 1861. Transformed into a military installation, Alcatraz was kitted out complete with barracks and gun batteries.

Scientists have found evidence of parts of the fortress lying under the recreation yard.

Scientists have found evidence of parts of the fortress lying under the recreation yard.


However, the garrison remained quiet and no shots were fired offensively. California was left largely untouched during the War Between the States.

Today, the parade ground shows no visible signs of the fortress buildings.

Today, the parade ground shows no visible signs of the fortress buildings.


Alcatraz was turned into an army prison at the turn of the 20th Century, paving the way for the infamous federal penitentiary. America's most notorious prison, from the 1930s to the 1960s the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was reserved for the "worst of the worst." Notorious gangsters such as George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Mickey Cohen and Al Capone all spent time locked up in the tiny cells.

The formerly "escape-proof" jail now hosts more than a million tourists visit each year.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... continue reading


Guliani/ Dyson Debate: Racism is Sin. Legitimate Social Analysis and Questions are Not Watch

Image of Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Georgetown Sociology Professor and media commentator Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

By Keith A. Fournier

I do not believe that the comments of the former Mayor of New York revealed racism or what the Professor of Sociology called "white supremacy". Rather, he raised matters concerning sociological statistics which need to be considered as we all seek to further the ... continue reading


Binge drinking: Only 10 percent of those who 'drink too much' are alcoholic Watch

Image of Women who have eight or more drinks per week and men who have 15 or more are considered heavy drinkers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The information would appear to encourage even more irresponsible behavior over the holidays . but a recent study says that only a small percentage of adults who "drink too much" are clinically alcoholic. The other 90 percent just, well, drink too much. LOS ... continue reading


Walmart, priding itself in war against hunger, has employees dependent on food banks Watch

Image of A day of protests against Walmart have been planned for the upcoming Black Friday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Having a job in the United States is a guarantee of food on the table - unless of course, you are a Walmart employee. Cashiers at the world's biggest retailer earn $8.48 an hour, which is above the minimum wage - but not enough to feed the average family. LOS ... continue reading


Another example of Imperialism! Why Obama fired Hagel Watch

Image of Secretary of Defense Chuch Hagel, often voiced frustration with Obama's administration and foreign policies and was never really admitted into the president's inner circle.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has resigned from his cabinet post, partially in response to the growing number of military conflicts and global crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hagel, the only Republican on ... continue reading


In the fight against liberal revisionism, Texas strikes major blow Watch

Image of The Texas Board of Education has voted to approve textbooks which they claim will fight back against a growing liberal school system.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas has approved controversial new history textbooks which have been criticized by academics as more full of politics than true history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than 5 million public school students will use the new textbooks in fall of 2015, after ... continue reading


OUTRAGE - Middle school principal suspended over active shooter drill Watch

Image of Active shooter drills are becoming more common on school campuses, but they're also controversial.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A school district in Florida has acted responsibly in suspending a middle school principal who staged an "active shooter drill" on her school campus which terrified children into believing that their lives were in danger. Similar drills have come into vogue across the ... continue reading


The Marriage Meme of Francis: What Did the Pope Just Say about Marriage and Family? Watch

Image of Pope Francis presiding at a marriage Liturgy at St Peters.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis embraces the unchangeable truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life and formative of family as the sole Meme - using the word properly.  That is why you will not read much about the crystal ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 15:1-4
1 And I saw in heaven another sign, great and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 7-8, 9
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2014 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter