Monday, June 18, 2007

Angel Island

Angel Island is a locals place. Visitors to San Francisco flock to Alcatraz Island, but far fewer visit Angel Island. Angel Island never captured the public's imagination like Alcatraz did when it housed notorious prisoners like Al Capone and the Birdman (Robert Stroud).

Today Angel Island is a state park. However, it's rich history includes periods when it was a military base, home to a quarantine station, and home to an immigration station where thousands of Chinese were detained for weeks and months between 1910 and 1940.

Cars are prohibited on Angel Island, so the park is a peaceful place for biking, hiking, and picnicking. If you chose to picnic, you may want to bring food with you as options are limited on the island.

If you walk the perimeter road, you will pass many of the island's historical sights including the immigration station. You can also hike to the top of Mt. Livermore for a 360 degree view of San Francisco Bay.

The Angel Island Immigration Station is currently being renovated. When the Immigration Station reopens in 2008, visitors will be able to learn more about the lives of those whose first home in America was Angel Island.

Angel Island is accessible by ferry from both San Francisco and Tiburon. More information about the island is available from the Angel Island association's excellent website: www.angelisland.org. More information on the Angel Island Immigration Station is available at www.aiisf.org.