Alcatraz: Layers of History

Hello all, this is my first blog post as an LHIP Intern. I have just completed my first week of work as a HABS intern. I am working in Washington DC at the HABS office, but currently I am in San Francisco collecting data. This week has been a journey with Monday having been my first day of work in Washington DC and ending Friday in San Francisco. I am originally from California so it is good to be back in my home state, but I am excited to begin working on this project back in DC very soon. The project that I will be working on for the course of my internship is the documentation of the Citadel. The Citadel was a Civil War era fort that occupied Alcatraz Island. The fort was used initially to protect the bay area as it was in a very strategic position. During the Civil War the fort was used to house Confederate prisoners. As time progressed the building underwent many changes and eventually all but the 1st floor was demolished to accommodate the infamous federal prison that stands there today. The main prison block cell was built over the 1st floor of the Citadel fort and was also used to house prisoners during the prison’s activity. Eventually the federal prison was closed due to high operation costs and in 1969 it was occupied by Native Americans in protest against the federal government. Because of the fort’s rough history all of these periods in time have left a mark on the building. This can be seen on the walls which have been marked by prisoners and protesters. These markings date back to when the Fort was occupied during the Civil War as well as the more modern Native American writing which was done using candles. All of this together provides a multilayered view of history that many do not understand. I am  working with HABS architect Paul Davidson and we are currently still collecting data at the site. This involves the use of  Leica P40 laser scanner which creates a highly detailed point cloud of the spaces we are in. This will be used to create animations and digital models of the Citadel.  As the sole intern on this project I am able to spend plenty of time learning to operate the equipment, and will later on work on cleaning up the data we have collected. To recap my 1st week as a HABS intern has been incredible. I was only just getting accustomed to Washington DC and now I am working in the Bay Area. I am also very excited to be able to work on refining data to create animations that will hopefully be able to begin to uncover the history that is underneath Alcatraz. Trolley in San Francisco

Arriving to Alcatraz

Arriving to Alcatraz

Welcome to Alcatraz
This is a view of the cells at Alcatraz before visitors get there.

This is a view of the cells at Alcatraz before visitors get there.

This is our laser scanner we are using to document the Citadel. We must move the scanner to each station as we move around the site.

This is our laser scanner we are using to document the Citadel. We must move the scanner to each station as we move around the site.

This was one of the rooms in the Citadel that we will be documenting. The ceiling of the room is vaulted but also in tough shape.

This was one of the rooms in the Citadel that we will be documenting. The ceiling of the room is vaulted but also in tough shape.

I am learning to use the Leica Scanner here to complete the station scan.

I am learning to use the Leica Scanner here to complete the station scan.

     

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