A newly restored Guardhouse Complex on Alcatraz Island was revealed on Tuesday, showing off the National Park Service's $3 million improvements.
After over a year of renovations, the last of many tarps have come down to unveil numerous stabilized, re-roofed and re-painted structures — some of which have not been accessible or visible to the public for decades.
"As we know, in this area things need to be seismically stabilized. This (guardhouse complex) is an area that wasn't. Since every visitor comes this direction, we want to make sure it's safe," Chris Lehnertz, superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, told the Associated Press.
This $3 million restoration was completed on the guardhouse, library and schoolhouse structures in addition to the historic cannon port embrasure of the east Guard Room. Now, when passing through the front gate, visitors can see the building’s original entrance sign reading "Alcatraces 1857."
Park service officials used giant scissors to cut a wide red, white, and blue ribbon held by volunteers dressed in Civil War-era military uniforms.
"The sally port here on Alcatraz is really the entry point that reveals the layers of history that are preserved here on Alcatraz," Lehnertz said. "This is the original structure on the island. This is the most historic site on the island, the entrance to the experience that visitors see today."
Visitors were first allowed on the island in the fall of 1973, and that first year more than 50,000 people came to see the closed prison. About 1.3 million people visit the island each year.
Over the next several years, more restoration work is scheduled to continue on structures such as the Citadel under the Cell House, or what visitors commonly refer to as the “dungeon”.
To plan your visit of the newly renovated sites on Alcatraz Island, visit the National Park Service website.