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Alcatraz hidden fortress: Civil War era ruins discovered buried under Alcatraz

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An Alcatraz hidden fortress, one that was there long before the notorious prison was built on the island, was recently discovered by A&M researchers using a ground-penetrating radar. This surprising Alcatraz find of the hidden fortress which was long-thought demolished, has researchers excited about an excavation on the island, according to Fox News on Feb. 27.

Fort Alcatraz was built around the time gold was discovered in the area. The fort went on to become a first line of defense during the Civil War. While it didn’t see any fighting during the Civil War, it did house Confederate sympathizers during that time.

Most of the old Fort Alcatraz is not reachable, as the prison is built on top of what was left of the demolished buildings, but some of the ruins can still be accessed with excavation. One area under the prison’s parade ground will be excavated by the team.

Another building, which jutted out into the bay, is seen in old pictures, but it “has completely disappeared from present view,” said Mark Everett, Texas A&M professor of geology and geophysics.

Everett said the building was called a caponier and it is a large structure. This is another area that they are anticipating excavating. Some of the oldest concrete in the U.S. is in the ruins of Fort Alcatraz.

Newsmax reports that the original mindset for erecting the Alcatraz Fort was explained by Jason Hagen, a historical architect for the National Parks Service:

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