Alcatraz, photo courtesy San Francisco Public Library
Alcatraz Prison was a military prison until 1933, when the U.S. Justice Department acquired it and turned it into a federal prison. Through the years, the prison housed many notorious criminals and was the scene of a terrible, 44-day riot that Marines were called in to squelch.
Through it all, the keepers continued to maintain the lighthouse and the two foghorns. The last civilian keeper retired in 1959, and the light was automated in 1963, the same year the prison closed. From 1969 to 1971, during the time a group of Native Americans occupied the island, fires destroyed the warden’s house and the keepers’ houses.
Today, despite the turbulent history of the island, the light still stands, still shining across the San Francisco Bay to guide mariners to safety.
During Easter, I can’t help but notice the correlation of Alcatraz Lighthouse to the resurrection. Christ was killed, buried, and thought to be finished, his body put away in a dark tomb. But on Easter morning, He arose, defeating death and the powers of darkness. Like the lighthouse, His light shone out of the darkness giving us hope, and it still shines today to guide us.
May God Bless you this Resurrection Day.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6