A to Z 2021 – A is for Alcatraz and Alamo Square

We are off to the races here in the 2021 edition of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. As I stated in my theme reveal, my focus this year is on San Francisco, the City By the Bay. There are a ton of facts on Wikipedia if you want to know the complete history but I’m not going to go into all of that here. Instead I’m going to try to showcase a few of the more famous places and also some out of the way places that even I had no idea existed. Some of the letters will include a coloring page from one of the coloring books I got in the San Francisco Chronicle, some will not. All the pictures are ones that I have taken myself. It was not that easy to get something for every letter. Most places start with San Francisco… It was fun tracking down these spots once I found them. Even though I have lived within 10 miles of the City my entire life, so much of it is new to me. I hope you enjoy the journey.

First up is Alcatraz Island. I only know that it was a federal prison but apparently in the beginning it was used as a lighthouse, a fort, a military prison and in 1969 it was held for a year and a half by Native American activists protesting against the disbanding of Native American tribes and taking their land.

While in use as a federal prison, the likes of Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Bumpy Johnson and Robert Franklin Stroud (known as “The Birdman of Alcatraz” were held there. They claim that no prisoner ever escaped from the island although many tried. It really is possible to swim from the island to the shore and there is an Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon that people can compete in, swimming the 1.5 miles to shore. No thanks! That water is COLD.

There have been several movies written about Alcatraz such as “Alcatraz,” “Escape From Alcatraz,” “The Rock,” and “Birdman of Alcatraz.”

In 1986 Alcatraz was dedicated as a Historical Landmark and prior to COVID you could take a tour of the island. They were stopped for a while but as I was getting some of the background info for this post I read that they were going to open up again as of March 15. I have never done the tour and I think it would be pretty neat so it is going on my list. Fortunately I can get the senior discount now too!

“A” also stands for Alamo Square. Alamo Square is one of the residential neighborhoods in San Francisco. There is a park in the square and from that park you can see the famous “Painted Ladies” which are the Victorian houses that are in the opening credits of the TV show, “Full House.”

When I went, there were a lot of people wandering about and I overheard one group say, “So those are the Full House houses, right?” It is definitely an interesting spot to see. Actually, I think the house that they lived in for the show was on a different street, but these were the ones in the opening scenes. I wonder what it would be like to live in a house where people are always taking pictures of it?

So, what do you think? How’s that for a start? Do you remember the show “Full House?” Interested in taking a trip to Alcatraz Island? Ready for “B?”

Disclaimer notice. The coloring book pages are from the inserts the San Francisco Chronicle put out and I mentioned them in my theme reveal so you can go to that to get the info about the artists if you are interested. I did the coloring. Special thanks to my husband who took me in to the City and drove around the block while I got out to take the photos. Parking is not always the easiest and we had a lot of places to see.

About scr4pl80

I'm a 60-ish, married, mom to 3, creative soul looking to make the world a better place one smile at a time.
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52 Responses to A to Z 2021 – A is for Alcatraz and Alamo Square

  1. Frewin55 says:

    Wow! you have a lot of responses! I missed you during the Challenge but found you on the Roadtrip – I made a mini review over on https://how-would-you-know.com/ I want to look through and see if you covered any of the locations from Tales of the City…

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      I love the Tales of the City! I haven’t read them all but I have them on my shelf. I started reading them when they first came out in the SF. Chronicle. Thanks for stopping by!


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  5. debscarey says:

    Hi Janet, I love those houses. Seen so many pictures but never knew where they were, so thank you 🙂

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. ghostmmnc says:

    It will be good to learn more about your city. I’ve been there once – went over the Bay Bridge, and also at the airport where we had a layover. Ate some delicious stew and sourdough bread there. I’ve heard that Alcatraz is haunted, even saw a documentary or two about this. Wonderful start to the challenge this year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa says:

    I never toured Alcatraz, but certainly saw it every time we drove over the Bay Bridge! I didn’t know that area had a name, Alamo Square. There are neighborhoods in SF where the houses are nothing but incredible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • scr4pl80 says:

      You are so right, Lisa. The houses are very unique. I’ve been snapping so many pictures of them but I’m not sure I’ll be able to find room for them all in the blog!


  10. San Francisco sounds like such a special place, and I look forward to getting to know it more and more. This definitely tastes like more, I’m ready for B!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. John Holton says:

    I was just about to ask if Alamo Square was where “Full House” was supposed to be set. Ecellent start to the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes I remember those houses very well. I found the Birdman of Acatraz very interesting… and I bet that water is cold.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Miss Andi says:

    Alamo Square is beautiful but yes, I think it would be quite weird to constantly have people taking photos of where I live! Funnily enough I just finished reading a book, The Dog Share, where one of the characters lived in such a street, and they kept joking at the people taking photos for their “thousands of followers” on Instagram 🙂 it was interesting in your post about Alcatraz being held by Native American activists for that long! I wonder if it had any effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I remember visiting Alcatraz Island when I went to California. It was my college graduation trip. Alcatraz is interesting with all the history but also incredibly depressing. Although, I did buy a mug “Alcatraz Swim Team” that I think I still have somewhere. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

  15. J-Dub says:

    Very informative!! It’s like taking a tour with leaving my living room. I’m ready for B and will be back tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Vidya Tiru says:

    I am like you; though I live in the south bay and have been here for over two decades now, there is so much to explore still.. We are yet to do a tour of Alcatraz for one.. And we finally spent time in Alamo square a couple of years ago after Fuller House came out…
    Look forward to visiting the city more often this month through your blog..
    My A post Alliteration: Alluring, Annoying Or Alright?

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Great Vidya! I have been lucky to be driving my son to work every morning so I can get to these spots during the week when they are less crowded with tourists!


  17. Great start, Janet. There are tons of people who love SF who will love this choice. Great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. diedre says:

    Alamo Square looks like an interesting place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great start Janet. I LOVE San Francisco, and I’m really looking forward to these armchair peeks. I can guarantee you I won’t be participating in any Triathalon, not even Escape from Alcatraz. I don’t know Full House, but I certainly like Painted Ladies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Hi Deborah! I’m with you on the Triathlon. Full House was a sitcom on for quite a few years and then there was a spin off called Fuller House. It was a cute show.


  20. I love the Alcatraz movies…I think it would be a really neat place to visit and see inside. Looking forward to more adventures with you through the month.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Janet,

    Alcatraz is intriguing. We watched Escape from Alcatraz with Clint Eastwood and I always wondered if those attempting that escape ever made it to shore. The prison housed some famous criminals. The street lined house in San Francisco look tidy and cute. No wonder it’s such a picturesque area. I wouldn’t mind taking pictures there. I do remember the TV series Full House. Nice start for April’s challenge. Thanks for visiting my first edition of Looney Tunes A-Z Art Sketches series, ACME Mail Order Catalog , my friend. Happy A2Zing!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I have been to San Francisco once but never Alcatraz. Thanks for the virtual tour!!
    Joy at http://www.thejoyousliving.com

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ally Bean says:

    I never watched Full House. I know of it of course, but didn’t know the house was supposed to be one of the Painted Ladies. Wasn’t the house on Charmed supposed to be one of them, too?

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      I don’t know, Ally, I never watched Charmed. In reality, there are a lot of Victorian houses in the city and most of them are in groups like this. They are really cool to look at. Some have really pretty painting.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Iain Kelly says:

    I would love to visit Alcatraz, such an iconic place and seen it in so many films. Enjoying my tour already 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  25. eschudel says:

    Thanks! I am looking forward to your tour around San Francisco!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ooo great start! I will be joining!!!! I’ll get it all set up later this afternoon haha

    Liked by 1 person

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