Random Access Memory
Droll, odd, poignant, and awkward moments from the many Marches of Las Vegas history
March 1, 1977: Six days after the disappearance of powerful Las Vegas Culinary Union leader Al Bramlet, his friend remarks, “I just hope he decided to take a slight vacation.”
March 2, 1925: William A. Clark Sr., 86, after whom Clark County was named in 1909 and whom Mark Twain called “a most disgusting creature,” has passed away in New York City.
March 3, 2002: A government study estimates 11,000 people have died from cancer caused by the nation’s 210 atmospheric atomic tests, 100 of which were at the Nevada Test Site.
March 4, 1930: When a “20,000-year-old civilization” is reportedly dug up under four feet of ancient sloth droppings near our city, a newspaper headline reads: VEGAS CRADLE OF HUMAN RACE.
March 5, 1955: Nevada Test Site security guard Eugene Haynes, 39, is told that the “39 roentgens of accidental radiation” he received from a March 1 atomic detonation will not cause him any serious harm.
March 6, 1957: Singer-dancer Maya Angelou, “Miss Calypso,” appears at the Hotel El Cortez.
March 7, 1914: The modern wonder that currently “proves our city’s greatness” is the new automated ticket-selling machine at the Majestic Theatre on Fremont Street, able to pop out “five tickets with a slight pressure of the finger.”
March 8, 1916: A rabies epidemic is declared after two dogs test positive for the disease.
March 9, 1917: Clark County high school girls are “taught to be proficient in household duties.”
March 10, 1935: To help fight dwindling revenues during the Great Depression, state Senator Frank Ryan proposes a $10 annual tax, called “the freedom tax,” on all unmarried men between 25 and 50 years old.
March 11, 1932: Following an epidemic of burglaries, Police Chief Clay Williams orders his officers to “shoot and shoot to kill then question the suspects after.”
March 12, 1951: William Connors, 52, extinguishes his own life in a flash fire after lighting a cigarette while confined to an oxygen tent at the county hospital.
March 13, 1932: Heber Grant, “president and the highest dignitary of the LDS Church to ever visit Las Vegas,” arrives.
March 14, 1967: New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, during his “startling probe” of the Kennedy assassination controversy, is spending seven days at the Sands Hotel under the assumed name “Robinson.”
March 15, 1933: In handing down a stiff sentence to “negress” Marie McCoy, guilty of vagrancy, Judge McNamee threatens to give, in the future, “a life sentence to all girls who (hang) around the Fresh Air Café, a popular colored gathering place.”
March 16, 2001: Even though he knew his former-linebacker-turned-high-school-coach Duane Johnson had been “fired from a Utah school for sexual misconduct,” former BYU head football coach LaVell Edwards admits he recommended Johnson to the Clark County School District for a teaching position. Now, Johnson stands accused by police of “committing a sex offense against a 13-year-old student in Las Vegas.”
March 17, 1977: Union leader Al Bramlet’s body is discovered under a pile of rocks in the desert, “shot six times, including once in each ear.”
March 18, 1916: A new city law to kill “all worthless curs running at large” has resulted in 40 dog deaths, eradicating the local rabies outbreak.
March 19, 1916: Oops. A “formerly gentle horse,” now suspected of having rabies, bites off Paul Stewarn’s finger.
March 20, 1989: John 3:16 Cook, former “con-man” turned evangelist for the homeless and often seen around the Downtown corridor in a truck with “Soup, Soap, Hope” painted on its side, appears on the Sally Jessy Raphael talk show.
March 21, 1931: After passing the “wide-open gambling” and the “six-week divorce” bills, Nevada’s Legislature is being hailed as “the most liberalizing one in our nation’s history.”
March 22, 2001: About 300 students walk out of Vo-Tech High School in protest after a student suspended for threatening others is allowed to return to school.
March 23, 1909: Dentist Paul McIntosh, “thoroughly reliable in up-to-date dentistry,” is in town from L.A. for one week to receive patients in his room at the Las Vegas Hotel.
March 24, 1922: Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover is visiting the area to approve the Boulder Canyon Dam Site “for the greatest water storage project in the world.”
March 25, 1951: The Mafia reportedly has proclaimed Las Vegas neutral territory “to the extent that no visiting thugs may shoot down a colleague even when moved by righteous anger.”
March 26, 2001: Joseph DeLuca, 44, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the 1997 murder here of Herbert “Fat Herbie” Blitzstein, a 62-year-old Chicago mob associate.
March 27, 1951: Irene Sweeney, organizer for The League of Women Voters, is in town to promote opening the first “league” in Nevada.
March 28, 1917: While climbing a cottonwood to watch a baseball game between the Las Vegas and Salt Lake teams, Edna Wyckoff, 12, is electrocuted to death by a power line.
March 29, 1953: The film Operation A-Bomb, in “thrilling Eastman color,” is playing at the Fremont Theater. However, during the past two weeks at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles away, two above-ground atomic tests have been conducted in flashy real-life colors.
March 30, 1907: A local ad for Hood’s Sarsaparilla promises a cure for the spring humors — “impure or effete matters accumulated in the blood during winter.”
March 31, 18,000 BCE: Giant sloths slog through the valley, leaving behind thick trails of droppings near what, in the future, will be the intersection of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.