The history of Alcatraz will have you cherishing your freedom

Fog lingers behind Alcatraz Island Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in San Francisco. The National Park Service pulled the tarps off upgrades at Alcatraz Island after $3 million in improvements to the guardhouse, the citadel and other historic features. The park service on Wednesday unveiled the results of more than a year of work. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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The infamous Alcatraz is located in San Francisco Bay. There is more to this prison than meets the eye. Within the historic walls lie the untold stories of the countless lives that passed through this prison.

Here are are a few facts you may not have known about Alcatraz.

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  1. In the 1850s, the U.S. Army built a fortress to protect San Francisco, but it was not needed until 1868, when it became a military prison.
  2. Alcatraz means “strange birds.”
  3. During Alcatraz’s 29 years as a federal prison, there were 14 escape attempts by 36 prisoners.
  4. Because of the strong, cold currents surrounding the island, most authorities considered it escape-proof.
  5. John Paul Scott was the only known prisoner to escape from Alcatraz and swim to shore.
  6. In total, more than 1,500 prisoners were held in Alcatraz.
  7. Only men were sent to Alcatraz.
  8. In 1963, Alcatraz was closed due to the high cost of maintenance and poor reputation.

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