A penitentiary located just a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge on San Pablo Bay in California. San Quentin has been running for around 135 years and is famous along with Alcatraz for its portrayals in televsion and movies. And it is also well know as a maximum security prison meaning only the worst criminals are housed there.

from Prison Life is Different by James A. Johnston (1937)

....A group of men came over in a motor boat. It was a wonderful day on the bay and they had an exhilerating ride. Everything they saw at the prison was new to them, and they were complimentary concerning the order, system, and cleanliness. In the hearing of the prisoners, they talked about their trip and about the beauty of the location. The prisoner who kept accounts for the steward of the general mess used to make out a menu every day and bring it to my office in the afternoon so that I could see what was planned for the following day. He got quite a kick out of hearing the visitors enthuse about the location. That evening the usual menu for the following day was on my desk, but it was dressed up and illustrated like a hotel prospectus and this was the copy:

Never since the opening in 1852 has the San Quentin Tavern enjoyed greater popularity or deserved better reputation than under the present management. Scenically San Quentin is unsurpassed. The location is superb. The climate is ideal. Nestled at the foot of the mountains of Marin, basking in the glorious sunshine of California, fanned by the breezes of the beautiful bays of San Francisco and San Pablo, the adventure-weary are allured and captivated and find rest and solitude so satisfying that many stay for years during all the seasons, and some for life. Many who only stayed a short while on the first trip, after trying other resorts, have returned again and again, and on each succeeding visit for a longer time.

At present we have several thousand regular boarders, and the transients bring the average of meals served to over nine thousand daily. Guests are always talking about our table. The cooking is plain but good and wholesome, and meals are always served on time. Regular boarders preferred. As a special inducement all who sign up for one year are given twelve months' board for ten months' pay. The place is very valuable as a mineral property, being especially rich in "copper." In case of fire do not leave your room before the door is unlocked. Guests departing before expiration of the time named in the contract will eventually be required to pay in full. Before going away leave your permanent address at the photograph gallery, as we want to have your name on our mailing list and keep in touch with your whereabouts.

Exerpt from: http://www.notfrisco.com/calmem/sanquentin.html