March Interesting Facts
Did you know March was the first month of the Roman calendar? It was changed to January when the Julian and Gregorian Calendars were introduced. To learn more about the Julian and Gregorian calendars and Leap Day in out February Blum’s Post!
March is the month known for a lack of productivity. Why would people be less productive in March? March Madness of course! The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place mostly in March each year. Who do you think will become this year’s National Champion?
March Holidays and Observances
Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 14th at 2:00 am. We will "spring forward" in time and have more sunlight in the evening hours just in time for spring and summer cookouts!
Wednesday, March 17th is Saint Patrick's Day. The celebration of St. Patrick has turned into a worldwide phenomenon full of Irish traditions, beer, and, or course, GREEN! While this year is quite different again, parades are usually a big part of the celebrations with large ones taking place in the United States in New York, Boston, Chicago and Savannah, GA.
Spring begins this year on Saturday, March 20th at 5:37 am EDT.
We close out March this year with Palm Sunday and the First Day of Passover falling on March 28th.
On March 21st, 1963 Alcatraz prison officially closed. Most people who grew up in the United States have heard of Alcatraz prison off the coast of San Francisco. What most people don't know however is the long and diverse history of the island.
Alcatraz (the island) was named in 1775 by Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala. Originally named "Alcatraces" the name was Anglicized over time to Alcatraz as we know it today. The island was first used in the 1850's as a military fortress and military prison by the Army. In 1933 the island was transferred to the US Department of Justice for use by the Federal Bureau of Prisons beginning the period of time that Alcatraz is most known for.
Alcatraz was opened as a maximum-security, minimum-privilege prison to house the more hardened criminals in the justice system. Alcatraz had a capacity of 336 inmates but typically only housed around 260-275. There were many "famous" inmates who spent time there but most of the inmates who found their way to Alcatraz were ones who were considered violent and dangerous, refused to conform to prison regulations, or were considered flight risks. During it's roughly 30 years as a prison there were 14 escape attempts. While no one has officially escaped from Alcatraz there are 5 prisoners who are missing and presumed drowned to this day.
Ultimately after 29 years of operating as a prison, Alcatraz was closed in 1963 due to operation budget. Because all supplies, including water, had to be transported to the island, it cost approximately three times more to operate Alcatraz than other federal prisons. There was also an additional $3-5 million needed in upkeep and restoration.
After the prison closed the island was basically deserted. Bay area Native American's then began lobbying to have the land redeveloped as an Indian cultural center and school. In 1964 5 Sioux landed on Alcatraz and tried to claim it under an 1868 treaty allowing Indians to appropriate surplus federal land. While this initial claim failed, it was followed shortly after by one in early November 1969 and another in late November 1969 by the activist group Indians of All Tribes. Their occupation lasted until June of 1971. Alcatraz opened as an national park in 1973 and to this day you can schedule tours to go out and explore Alcatraz and see the different aspects of its history.
From the Almanac
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