This Week In History, August 11-17, 2014


This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
– Winston Churchill

Week of August 11-17, 2014

August 11

1860 – The first successful silver mill in the United States begins operating in Virginia City, Nevada.

1866 – The world’s first roller skating rink opens in Newport, Rhode Island.

1919 – The Green Bay Packers football club is founded by George Calhoun and Curly Lambeau and is named after its sponsor, the Indian Packing Company. The Packers win the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles against the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.


1924 – Presidential candidates Calvin Coolidge and John Davis make the first campaign film for public viewing.

1934 – The first federal prisoners arrive at Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay in California. Sixty special FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, and railway security officials escort the 137 handcuffed prisoners.


1951 – The Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers play the first baseball game telecast in color. The Braves beat the Dodgers 8-1.

1984 – During a radio voice test President Reagan joked he “signed legislation that would outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in 5 minutes.”

1984 – Carl Lewis duplicates Jesse Owens’ 1936 feat by winning four Olympic track gold medals.


August 12

1620 – The ships Mayflower and Speedwell arrive in Dartmouth, England, to repair leaks in the Speedwell. On September 6th the Mayflower heads for America alone when the Speedwell’s leaks cannot be fixed. The Mayflower voyage takes 66 days.

1851 – The U.S. schooner America beats the British yacht Aurora in the first America’s Cup race.

1851 – Isaac Singer patents the sewing machine.

1898 – Secretary of State William Day signs the Peace Protocol (by the authority of President McKinley) ending the Spanish-American War.

1908 – Ford builds the first Model T automobile in Detroit, Michigan. It sells for $825.


1927 – The movie “Wings” starring Clara Bow opens. It is the only silent film to win an Oscar for best picture. It wins the Oscar at the first Academy Awards in 1929.

1953 – Ann Davison arrives in Miami, Florida, becoming the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic.

1955 – President Eisenhower raises the minimum wage from 75 cents to $1 an hour.

1970 – St. Louis Cardinal’s outfielder Curt Flood loses his antitrust lawsuit against baseball following a Supreme Court decision. He claims baseball effectively binds a player and his contract to a team for life. In December 1975 baseball players finally win the right to free agency.

1972 – The last American combat ground troops leave Vietnam.

1977 – The Space Shuttle Enterprise makes the first atmospheric flight.

1993 – Pope John Paul II begins a 4-day visit of the U.S. for World Youth Day in Denver.

1994 – Stephen G. Breyer is sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice.



August 13

1876 – The Reciprocity Treaty (free trade agreement) between the U.S. and Hawaii is ratified.

1889 – William Gray patents the coin-operated telephone. He installs the first phone at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut, as a post-pay phone. The first pre-pay phone is installed in Chicago in 1898. By 1902 there are 81,000 pay telephones in use in the United States.

1919 – The racehorse Man o’ War suffers the only defeat of his career from (ironically) Upset at Saratoga, New York. Man o’ War retires to stud in 1920 and foals many champions, including the 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral.

1939 – Sabotage suspected in crash of the passenger train “City of San Francisco” which fell into the Humboldt River in Elko, Nevada, killing 24.


1963 – Custom agents confiscate 21 gold coins from the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

1981 – The last broadcast of the “Waltons” airs on CBS-TV. The show premieres in 1971.


1993 – The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals rules (subsequent to Armstrong vs. The Executive Office following a Freedom of Information Act request) that the White House, specifically, and government agencies, in general, must preserve all their e-mail messages under the Federal Records Act (FRA) of 1950 since they are deemed official records.


August 14

1873 – Charles Hallock publishes his first magazine called “Forest and Stream.” It is renamed “Field & Stream” in 1930.

1936 – Rainey Bethea is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky, in the last public execution in the United States. He is convicted of rape and murder based on his fingerprints, a new identification technique.


1941 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issue the joint declaration that later becomes known as the Atlantic Charter. Although not a treaty, it is an affirmation “of certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they based their hopes for a better future for the world.”

1965 – The singing group “The Beatles” make their fourth and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

1966 – The first U.S. lunar orbiter begins orbiting the Moon.

1974 – Congress authorizes U.S. citizens to own gold. The Gold Reserve Act of January 1934 outlawed most private possession of gold.

1997 – The Oklahoma Court of Appeals upholds the death sentence of Timothy McVeigh for the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that kills 168 people. McVeigh dies by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.



August 15

1635 – The first recorded hurricane in the U.S. hits the Plymouth Colony.

1824 – Freed American slaves form the country of Liberia in Africa. The original settlement had been called Christopolis but is renamed Monrovia after the American president, James Monroe. The colony is formally called Liberia.

1911 – Procter & Gamble unveils Crisco shortening, which is made entirely of vegetable oil. The brand name Crisco is a modification of the phrase “crystallized cottonseed oil” and is designed to remain a solid at room temperature.


1914 – The Panama Canal opens to trans-oceanic traffic. Work begins on the canal in 1904. The grand opening procession that was planned is cancelled after the outbreak of World War I.

1945 – Japan surrenders after the U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

1969 – Woodstock Music & Art Fair opens in New York State on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre Dairy Farm. Thirty-two musical acts perform at the outdoor concert.


1970 – Patricia Palinkas becomes the first woman professional football player (Orlando).

1971 – President Nixon announces a 90-day freeze on wages, prices, and rents.

1991 – About 750,000 attend singer Paul Simon’s free concert in Central Park, New York.


August 16

1829 – Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker arrive in Boston to be exhibited.

1863 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.

1898 – Edwin Prescott patents the “Loop-the-Loop” roller coaster. The first roller coaster in the United States, however, is built by L. A. Thompson and opens at Coney Island, New York, in June of 1884 and is based on railway designs.

1920 – Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit in the head by a New York Yankee Carl Mays pitch. Chapman dies next day, the only major league baseball player game fatality.

1949 – During the Truman Administration, U.S. General Omar Bradley becomes the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On September 22, 1950, Congress officially promotes Bradley to General of the Army with five stars. He is the last officer promoted to that rank, and the only one since World War II.

1954 – “Sports Illustrated” publishes its first magazine. Milwaukee Braves baseball player Eddie Mathews is on the cover.TIS_16_First_Sports_Illustrated_cover

1988 – New York City Mayor Koch says he plans to wipe out street-corner windshield washers.


August 17

1807 – Robert Fulton’s steamboat the Clermont begins its first trip up the Hudson River.

1859 – The first airmail flight takes off from Lafayette, Indiana, in a hot air balloon.

1903 – Journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer donates $1 million to Columbia University to begin the Pulitzer Prizes. The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in 1917 to Herbert Bayard Swope of the New York World newspaper for his articles entitled “Inside The German Empire” and the biography Julia Ward Howe by Laura E. Richards and Maude Howe Elliott. The New York Tribune receives an award for an editorial on the first anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.

1918 – Samuel Riddle buys future Triple Crown winner Man o’War for $5,000.

1945 – At the end of World War II, North and South Korea are divided along the 38th parallel. The United States occupies the area south of the 38th parallel and the Soviet Union occupies the area north of the parallel.

1958 – The United States attempts to launch the world’s first Moon probe, Thor-Able, which fails when it explodes at T +77 seconds (77 seconds after takeoff).

1960 – The U-2 spy trial of downed American pilot Gary Powers begins in Moscow. Powers pleads guilty to espionage and is sentenced to three years in prison and seven years hard labor. He serves 21 months and is exchanged for convicted KGB spy Rudolph Abel in February 1962, who serves 4 years of his 45-year sentence.


1978 – Three Americans, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, make the first successful crossing of the Atlantic in a balloon after 137 hours aboard the Eagle II.

1998 – U.S. President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He admits before the nation that he “misled people” about his relationship with her.