Postal Service to offer Special Commemorative Postmark
SAN FRANCISCO — On Aug. 13 and 14, the U.S. Postal Service will join the 77-year anniversary celebration of the opening of U.S. Penitentiary Alcatraz. A special commemorative postmark was created to honor the anniversary, and Postal employees will cancel letters and postcards in the Alcatraz gift shop from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
For those that can not make it to Alcatraz Island for the event, but would still like a postcard or letter with the Alcatraz special pictorial postmark, stop by the Rincon Post Office, 180 Steuart St., San Francisco. The commemorative postmark will be available until Sept. 14, 2011.
Every year in August, the National Park Service hosts activities to commemorate the anniversary of the penitentiary opening. Many of the former residents of Alcatraz are scheduled to be on Alcatraz Island in honor of this special 77th anniversary event. For more information about the anniversary event visit https://www.alcatrazcruises.com/
According to author Jerry Lewis Champion Jr., the discovery of Alcatraz is related to the Postal Service. The San Carlos, a Spanish packet ship, discovered the Island of Alcatraz on August 5, 1775. The primary function of packet ships was the transport of mail. The Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala named the Island, La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translates to the Island of the Pelicans. Later the name was shortened and altered to the current name of Alcatraz.
The first U.S. Post Office opened on Alcatraz Island on March 6, 1874. At the time, Alcatraz was a U.S. Army reservation known as the “Post at Alcatraz,” which had been established in 1850. The Army post closed in 1933, and on January 1, 1934, Alcatraz became a U.S. federal penitentiary. The island Post Office developed a rubber stamp which featured a cartoon like pelican with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. That theme has been reproduced for the 76-year anniversary cancellation. When the prison closed in 1963, the Alcatraz Post Office also closed.