A week into the new year, it’s the perfect time to look back at some of the Rock’s noteworthy moments from 2012.
February—On Valentine’s Day, park rangers lead a sing along of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” during a dock announcement in recognition of Tony Bennett Day.
March—Findings from National Park Service and UC Davis surveyors reveal a potential subspecies of glowing millipedes living on the island.
April—The annual Civil War Living History Day highlights Alcatraz’s past as a fortress and military prison complete with reenactors, demonstrations, and displays.
May—An exhibit featuring a 23-panel comic book about restorative justice illustrated by James Breeden opens in the prison building to critical acclaim. Alcatraz is canceled amid falling viewership and poor ratings.
June—Relatives of escapees John and Clarence Anglin visit the island on the 50th anniversary of the famous break and are convinced they survived. Pro-triathlete Andy Potts wins a record fifth Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon.
July—A federal judge refuses to step down after lawyers for jailed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger challenge his impartiality.
August—Former residents, guards, a doctor, and one prisoner reunite for Alcatraz Alumni Day to celebrate the 78th opening of the penitentiary.
September—Streetball legend Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones repeats as Red Bull King of the Rock champion. The space shuttle Endeavor is visible from the island during its final low-level flight over the Bay Area.
October—The first of two sunrise ceremonies takes place on Columbus Day. Activist and actor Russell Means, a Oglala Lakota Sioux who led the American Indian Movement (AIM), passes away at 72. Ex-inmate and guest author John F. Dekker (1076-AZ) dies on Halloween, his 85th birthday. The lighthouse illuminates in orange in support of the Giants in the Fall Classic.
November—The restoration of historic graffiti on the now-stabilized Water Tower, and the annual Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Gathering commemorate the Occupation of Alcatraz from 1969-71 by American Indians of All Tribes.
December—The Dock Guard Tower is draped in white tarp for repairs and repainting. Football teams from Navy and Arizona State tour Alcatraz at night as part of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl festivities. Los Pollos Hermanos (11-6), owned by Mike Branecky, wins the Alcatraz Escapes League (AEL) fantasy football championship.
These are just some of the memories from the past year and there will be many more to come in 2013.