Historic Light Station Information
ALCATRAZ ISLAND LIGHT - CA
ALCATRAZ LIGHTHOUSE (1909)
Location: ALCATRAZ ISLAND / SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Station Established: 1854
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1909
Automated? Yes, 1963
Foundation Materials: Masonry
Construction Materials: Reinforced concrete
Tower Shape: Octagonal pyramidal
Markings/Pattern: Natural w/black lantern
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: Third Order, Fresnel, 1854
Foghorn: Dismantled; was an electronic Klaxon but originally was a bell.
- The name of this lighthouse is derived from "alcatraces" the Spanish word for pelican. However, this island is best known as the home of Al Capone and other notorious criminals. A federal penitentiary is also on the island. This light is the oldest major navigational light on the West Coast. For over 50 years, the lighthouse survived prison breakouts, riots and burning.
- 1906: The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 severely damaged the original lighthouse.
- 1963: The light was automated in 1963.
- 2000: The lighthouse is now a museum and can be toured.
Original Alcatraz Island Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy of the National Archives
ALCATRAZ LIGHTHOUSE (1854)
Historic Postcard of the Alcatraz Island Lighthouse