This Month in Alaska History
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This Month in History is compiled by Robert N. DeArmond of Sitka

March 1, 1879--HMS Osprey arrived at Sitka from Victoria, B.C., in response to a call for help inspired by fear of an Indian uprising. The ship remained at Sitka until the arrival of the USS Alaska on April 3.

March 2, 1903--Congress appropriated $485,000 for a submarine telegraph cable from Seattle to Sitka and Juneau.

March 3, 1913--The first Alaska Territorial Legislature convened in the Elks Lodge building at Juneau.  Twenty-three members met that day.  One elected member, from the Fairbanks district, failed to appear during the session.

March 4, 1915--President Woodrow Wilson signed the Alaska School Lands bill turning over to the Territory sections 16 and 36 of all surveyed townships.

March 5, 1959--The "Detroit '59ers," more than fifty families from Michigan motored out of Detroit toward Alaska with the intent to homestead on the Kenai Peninsula.

March 6, 1973--Voters went to the polls to choose between Emil Notti and Don Young to replace U.S. Representative Nick Begich, who had been killed in a plane accident.

March 7, 1988--Vern Tejas of Anchorage completed the first solo ascent of Mt. McKinley.

March 8, 1960--The state legislature passed a bill permitting non-profit organizations to operate games of chance.

March 9, 1911--Fire in Douglas destroyed a large section of the business district.

March 10, 1959--The Alaska House of Representatives voted to give the governor of the new state a salary of $25,000 a year.

March 11, 1942--The SS Mount McKinley, 4,861 tons, and carrying military cargo, was wrecked at Scotch Cap, Unimak Pass.

March 12, 1914--President Woodrow Wilson signed into law a bill providing for a government railroad in Alaska.   The Alaska Railroad created by this legislation is now owned by the State of Alaska.

March 13, 1968--Atlantic Richfield and Humble Oil announced their Prudhoe Bay discovery well.

March 14, 1929--International Airways inaugerated air passenger service between Seattle and Alaska.

March 15, 1916--The Bering River and Matanuska coal reserves were proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson.

March 16, 1901--Treadwell, on Douglas Island, was incorporated as a first class city.

March 17, 1912--The U.S. Marines, withdrew from Sitka where a contingent had been stationed since 1879.

March 18, 1918--The Wilson & Sylvester sawmill at Wrangell, the largest mill in Alaska, burned.

March 19, 1963--The former Revenue Cutter Bear, famed for her long service in northern waters, sank in the Atlantic while under tow.

March 20, 1861--Wilds P. Richardson, the first president of the Alaska Road Commission (1905 to 1917), was born in Texas.

March 21, 1913 - Governor Walter E. Clark approved the first act of the first Territorial Legislature, giving Alaska women the right to vote.

March 22, 1952--Fire that started about 10:30 pm on the 21st destroyed much of downtown Wrangell.

March 23, 1933--Governor George A. Parks signed into law the bill repealing the Alaska Bone Dry law.

March 24, 1989--The Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, ultimately spilling 260,000 barrels of North Slope oil.

March 25, 1927--E. Coke Hill took office as U.S District Judge for the Third Judicial Division, headquartered at Valdez.

March 26, 1958--The "White Alice" communication system began operation.

March 27, 1964--At 5:36 pm the Good Friday earthquake, which registered more than 8 on the Richter scale, rocked southcentral Alaska.  The quake released approximately twice the energy of the 1906 San Francisco quake.  It killed 115 people in Alaska and more than a dozen others in California and Oregon.

March 28, 1898--The U.S. Department of Agriculture established an experimental station at Kodiak.

March 29, 1867--Russian Minister to the U.S. Edouard de Stoeckl appeared at U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward’s home to inform him that the Czar had wired approval of a treaty for the American purchase of Alaska.

March 30, 1916--Delegate James Wickersham introduced in Congress the first bill providing for statehood for Alaska.

March 31, 1915--A bill placing a $10 bounty on wolves was signed into law by Governor John Strong.