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Precedents

March 21, 1963


Completed in 1912, the original cell house was upgraded to a maximum-security facility that took in high-profile gangsters and lesser-known incorrigibles. Among the rogues’ gallery of public enemies who did time on “the Rock” were Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Arthur “Doc” Barker and Robert “Birdman” Stroud.

In its storied 29-year history, 34 in­mates at­tempted escape; a few managed to get off the island, but all were either recaptured or thought to have drowned.

Facing high operating expenses and a costly renovation, Alcatraz was closed and later replaced by a more modern prison in Marion, Ill. Alcatraz is now a popular tourist attraction run by the National Park Service, as well as a favored location for Hollywood filmmakers.

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The Broad Reach of the Unsung ABA


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