In 1970 a park ranger, Alexander Weiss, was busy checking over some old buildings on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. The California Department of Parks and Recreation was in the process of demolishing these buildings as they were deemed unsafe and unsightly for the increasing number of local residents who visited for a picnic and, fog permitting, views of the city skyline. Several buildings had already been bulldozed and an old wooden pier removed. As he inspected the two-story detention barracks, Weiss noticed some writings on the wall and believed them to be carvings left by Chinese immigrants once detained there for questioning. He informed his superiors at the department, but apparently they shared neither his enthusiasm for, nor belief in, the significance of the writings. The ranger eventually contacted Dr. George Araki of San Francisco State University, who along with a local photographer recorded the hundreds of poems scrawled all over the inside of the building.