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Warden's House (Alcatraz Island)

Warden's House and lighthouse

The Hoe House was the home of the wardens of the federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island, off San Francisco. It is located at the northeastern end of the Main Cellblock, next to Alcatraz Lighthouse. The 3-floor 15-room mansion was built in 1921 according to the Golden Gate National Recreational Area signpost,[1] although some sources say it was built in 1926 or 1929 and had 17 or 18 rooms.[2]

Between 1934 and 1963 the four wardens of Alcatraz resided here including the first warden, James A. Johnston. A house of luxury in stark contrast to the jail next to it, the wardens often held lavish cocktail parties here.[3]The signpost at the spot shows a photograph of a trusted inmate doing chores at the house for the warden and that the house had a terraced garden and greenhouse.[1] The mansion had tall windows, providing fine views of San Francisco Bay.[2]

Today the house is a ruin, burned down during the AIM (American Indian Movement) Occupation of Alcatraz on June 1, 1970.[2] Like many sites on the island, the house is reputed to be haunted.[4] Several guards reported seeing the spectre of a man with mutton-chop sideburns during a party wearing a gray suit and brimmed cap, leaving the room icy cold and extinguishing the fire in the Ben Franklin stove.[5]

The Warden's House is labelled on the map of Alcatraz


  1. ^ a b "Warden's House". Golden Gate National Recreational Area. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Dunbar, Richard (1 January 1999). Alcatraz. Casa Editrice Bonechi. p. 82. ISBN 978-88-8029-940-0. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Hughes, Holly; Murphy, Sylvie; Flippin, Alexis Lipsitz; Duchaine, Julie (2 February 2010). Frommer's 500 Extraordinary Islands. John Wiley & Sons. p. 369. ISBN 978-0-470-50070-5. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Famous Hauntings". The Shadowlands. 
  5. ^ "Ghosts of Alcatraz Island". Legends of America. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 

Coordinates: 37°49′34″N 122°25′19″W / 37.82611°N 122.42194°W / 37.82611; -122.42194