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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Not Just a Water Tower

A Message to the World

 

— Golden Gate National Recreation Area —

 
Not Just a Water Tower: A Message to the World Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 3, 2019
1. Not Just a Water Tower: A Message to the World Marker
Inscription.  
The Alcatraz water tower is one of the most visible landmarks in San Francisco Bay. As such, it was an ideal place for American Indians who occupied the island to broadcast their message of "peace and freedom" to the world. Standing on each other's shoulders to paint the letters, they satked their claim to the island.

The 19 month protest from 1969 to 1971 became the longest occupation of Federal land in US history, and is credited with launching a national American Indian civil rights movement. When the National Park Service (NPS) restored the water tower in 2012, original occupiers and family members were invited to repaint the historic message. The NPS continues to work with the occupiers to restore their inscriptions around the island.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil RightsCommunicationsNative Americans.
 
Location. 37° 49.647′ N, 122° 25.407′ W. Marker is in San Francisco
Upper image image. Click for full size.
2. Upper image
History of the Water Tower (inset)
When the US military transferred Alcatraz to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in 1934, the BOP signed a contract to provide laundry service for Bay Area army bases. With no fresh water source on the island, large volumes of water were transported for drinking, fire suppression, and the prison laundry. Installed in 1940, the water tower stored the 250,000 gallons (950,000 liters) of fresh water brought by boat twice weekly. Today the island uses approximately 1,500 gallons a [sic] water a day that is stored in a nearby cistern.
, California, in San Francisco City and County. This marker is located southeast of the water tower, near the morgue (follow the red signs for the Cellhouse Audio Tour). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Francisco CA 94133, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Morgue (a few steps from this marker); Officers' Club (within shouting distance of this marker); Quartermaster Warehouse and Power Plant (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Western Gulls (about 600 feet away); Scow Schooner Alma (approx. 1.2 miles away); Hicks Engine (approx. 1.2 miles away); Steering the Ship... (approx. 1.2 miles away); The Carpenter Shop... (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
 
Also see . . .
1. Occupation of Alcatraz. Wikipedia article (Submitted on May 13, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 

2. We Hold the Rock. Article on the National Park Service website written by Dr. Troy Johnson from California State University, Long Beach. (Submitted on May 13, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
Additional keywords. American Indian Movement (AIM)
 
Lower images image. Click for full size.
3. Lower images
Left/below: Park staff and original occupiers and family members participating in repainting the water tower messages after its restoration in 2012.

Right: Water tower with messages in 1975.
A view of the Water Tower and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Diane Phillips
4. A view of the Water Tower and Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 13, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 13, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.   4. submitted on August 28, 2020, by Diane Phillips of Pittsburg, California.
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Mar. 6, 2021