The Rock is more myth than reality. Still, the former federal penitentiary attracts more than 1 million visitors annually as a museum. Some of the country’s most notorious criminals were incarcerated on The Rock at one time or another. Several tried to escape, but none were successful. Or, were they? Even though the prison closed in the 1960s, its stories about remain legendary to this day.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an icon of San Francisco. The famed bridge opened on May 27, 1937. To experience the bridge’s magnitude, head to Fort Point. This well-preserved Civil War era post is located on the southern side of the Golden Gate strait at the entrance of San Francisco Bay.
Carl Henry is often said to have proposed turning a section of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth streets in the Russian Hill section of town into the series of switchbacks that it is today. While the street’s title of “World’s Crookedest Street” may be open to debate (see Vermont Street elsewhere in town), its popularity as a tourist attraction hasn’t waned in the roughly eight decades since the street was reconfigured to its current design.
Two days after the massive earthquake of April 18, 1906, ruptured gas lines caused much of San Francisco to burn. Firefighters in many instances were unable to extinguish flames as fire hydrants had no water. However, firefighters vowed to make a stand at the intersection of Church and 20th streets. Miraculously, water flowed from a fire hydrant near the intersection and every April 18, the fire hydrant receives a new coat of gold paint.
There is a lot that can be said about Richard Nixon. Though he is perhaps best known as the only president ever to resign from office, the 37th president of the United States is a complex person whose fingerprints can be found in so many aspects of 20th-century politics. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum first opened in July 1990. An updated iteration of the museum, complete with updated exhibits (including one on Watergate, which led to his resignation in August 1974), opened in October 2016. In addition to exhibits, the museum also includes the house where Nixon was born in 1913 and the VH-3A Sea King helicopter Nixon used when he departed from the White House for the last time as president.
When the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was first envisioned in the 1930s, the only way to reach the summit of San Jacinto Peak from the floor of the Coachella Valley was on foot. That didn’t deter Francis F. Crocker. While the link was first proposed in the midst of the Great Depression, work on the project was slowed by both World War II and the Korean War, though planning work continued through the 1950s. The project saw new life in the 1960s, and the tramway opened in September 1963.
Hearst named his mansion La Cuesta Enchantada (or The Enchanted Hill), but it is commonly referred to as Hearst Castle. The Casa Grande that stands atop the hillside, the symbol of the mansion, features two towers were inspired by the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor in Ronda, Spain. The Castle is filled with Hearst’s collection of treasures from around the world, ranging from medieval tapestries to Renaissance furniture to 19th century sculptures. But, perhaps the most intriguing element of the mansion is Neptune Pool , which features the façade of an ancient Roman temple as its centerpiece.
The San Francisco Cable Car Museum on Mason Street in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood is the perfect museum for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the city’s unique attraction. The museum includes a number of old cable cars and exhibits about how they operate. Visitors can also see the powerhouse and the actual cables that pull cars up and down the city’s many hills.
Death Valley National Park straddles the California-Nevada border. Located east of the Sierra Nevada, the 3.3 million-acre national park occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts in the United States.