Angel Island, California

Like a bigger Alcatraz, Angel Island is an away place for the city, now as a park but formerly as a site for activities undesirable in the midst of the city. Since the first use of the island as an artillery station in the 1860s, it has hosted many generations of gun batteries, up until 1962. Meanwhile it served as the Bay Area's primary quarantine and disinfection station, as the immigrant processing and detention center known as the Ellis Island of the West, and as a prisoner of war camp during World Wars. Now it is operated as a State Park, though the ruins of the former uses of the island dominate the atmosphere. The most built-up portion of the island is the former East Garrison of Fort McDowell, where numerous empty buildings lurk, including the 1,000 man barracks, one of the earliest examples of tilt-up architectural construction. The Immigration Station on the north end of the island was a processing and detention center for new immigrants from 1910 to 1940, and a POW and internment camp during WWII. Many of the original structures remain in a state of arrested decay, and a museum and memorial are open to the public. Point Blunt, the southeastern tip of Angel Island, is still closed to the public. A coast guard station outfitted with four family units occupies the lower levels, while a Nike missile battery, abandoned in 1962, is above it.