Most tourists to the San Francisco Bay Area know of the notorious island not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, and only a healthy swim away from Fisherman’s Wharf. Alcatraz is known famous the world over and that puts it atop the sightseeing attractions list of many tourists when they visit San Francisco. But Alcatraz is not the only island in the bay nor is it the most prominent in terms of size either. Angel Island is a 750 acre natural island positioned between Alcatraz and the peninsula of Tiburon.
Angel Island was developed in 1910 to function as the west coast’s immigration center, processing immigrants from continents west of the California coast, with the bulk of those originating from China and Japan. The immigration center processed more than one million people into the United States before the processing station was closed after a fire decimated the building.
Now the immigration complex has been reconditioned as the beginning of an extensive refurbishment project designed in five phases, and eventually costing sixty-five million dollars. In addition to being able to tour the restored immigration station building, visitors can also tour the barracks where the immigrants were housed and see the messages which were carved into the walls by all of those who passed through the island with trepidation and uncertainty about their futures beyond Angel Island. More information about the immigration station center is available online: www.aiisf.org.