This Week In History, June 30 – July 6 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 June 30-July 6, 2014

June 30

1834 – Congress expands the Indian Territory with the Trade Act to include what is now Oklahoma.

1859 – Charles Blondin is the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Blondin walks the 1,100’ across the falls 160’ above the water before a crowd of 25,000 people without a safety net or harness.


1906 – The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act are adopted during the Teddy Roosevelt administration.


1927 – The U.S. Assay Office (tests the purity to precious medals like gold and silver) in Deadwood, South Dakota, closes. It opened in 1898.

1933 – The U.S. Assay Offices close in Helena, Montana, Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah. They all opened in 1869.

1938 – Superman first appears in DC Comics’ Action Comics Series issue #1.


1940 – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service forms.

1942 – The U.S. Mint in New Orleans ceases operation. It opened in 1838.

1952 – “Guiding Light” soap opera moves from radio to TV and airs until 2009.

1954 – The U.S. Treasury issues its largest internal check for $4,176,969,623.57.

1955 – “Johnny Carson Show” debuts on CBS-TV and airs until 1992. Carson died in 2005 at age 79.

1974 – Soviet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defects to the west. He becomes an American citizen in 1986. Baryshnikov is 66 years old.


1989 – Congressman “Buz” Lukins (R-OH) is found guilty of having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Lukins refuses to resign his seat but loses the 1990 primary to future Speaker of the House John Boehner.


July 1

1836 – President Andrew Jackson announces to Congress the bequest by James Smithson of 100,000 gold sovereigns to found the institution in Washington that bears his name.

1874 – Four-year-old Charles Ross of Germantown, Pennsylvania, is the first U.S. kidnapping using a ransom note. He is held for $20,000 and the kidnappers write a total of 23 ransom letters over a five-month period. Two suspects are shot during a robbery attempt and admit to kidnapping Charlie before dying. Charlie is never found although his father and mother search for him until their deaths in 1897 and 1912 respectively.

1874 – The first zoo in the U.S. opens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1898 – Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt is elected president in 1901.

1934 – The first x-ray photo of entire body is taken in Rochester, New York.

1963 – The U.S. postal service institutes the zip code (Zone Improvement Plan).

1966 – Medicare becomes available as a result of the Medicare Act being signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 31, 1965.

1971 – The cost of building the Golden Gate Bridge is paid in full. There still is a toll to cross the bridge.


1987 – Robert Bork is nominated to the Supreme Court. The Senate rejects Bork’s nomination in October.


July 2

1864 – Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol is established and Congress invites each state to contribute 2 statues of prominent citizens. The first statue is of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island, placed in the Hall in 1870. By 1990 all 50 states contributed at least one statue.

1881 – President James A. Garfield is shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker. Garfield dies on September 19th. Vice President Chester Arthur becomes president when Garfield dies. Guiteau is convicted of murder and hanged on June 30, 1882.

1890 – The Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits industrial monopolies.

1926 – The U.S. Army Air Corps is created and Distinguish Flying Cross is authorized. The first recipient of the DFC medal is Charles A. Lindbergh, then a captain in the Army Reserve, on June 11, 1927. The award recognizes his 1927 transatlantic crossing in the Spirit of St. Louis.

1935 – Great Britain boxers beat the U.S. team in the first international Golden Gloves.

1937 – Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappear over the Pacific Ocean in their Lockheed 5B Vega in their attempt to fly around the world.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law. As Senate Majority Leader in 1957, Johnson (D-TX) tries unsuccessfully to block the civil rights legislation he is forced to sign when he is president!

1979 – The Susan B. Anthony dollar is issued. It is the first U.S. coin to honor a woman.


2002 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon. Fossett disappears in September 2007while flying in an airplane. The crash site is found in September 2008 and his remains are identified in November. He was 63 years old.



July 3

1775 – George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1839 – The first “normal school” (teacher’s college) in the U.S. opens in Lexington, Massachusetts, with 3 female students enrolled, launching teaching as a profession.

1898 – Joshua Slocum completes the first solo circumnavigation of the globe and lands in Rhode Island after more than 3 years. He launches his sloop the “Spray” from Massachusetts on April 24, 1895. In 1909 Slocum disappears while sailing to the West Indies, and is presumed lost at sea. He was 65 years old.


1930 – The Veterans Administration is created.

1958 – “The Chevy Showroom Starring Andy Williams” premiers for one season and launches his life-long career. Williams is the first non-country singer in Branson, Missouri. Williams died in 2012 at age 84.

1965 – Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger dies at age 33. Trigger’s first movie role was with Olivia de Havilland starring as Maid Marian. She rode Trigger through the forest in the 1938 movie “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”


1978 – The Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the Federal Communications Commission has a right to reprimand a New York radio station for broadcasting George Carlin’s “Filthy Words.” These are part of Carlin’s monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.”

1985 – CBS announces a 21 percent stock buy-back to thwart Ted Turner’s takeover.

1989 – The movie “Batman,” set the record for earning the quickest $100 million (10 days).


July 4

1776 – The U.S. congress proclaims the Declaration of Independence and independence from Britain.

1796 – The first Independence Day celebration is held.

1802 – The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, opens.

1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (2nd and 3rd presidents) die within five hours of each other at ages 90 and 82 respectively.

1862 – Lewis Carroll creates Alice in Wonderland for 7-year-old Alice P. Liddell.

1865 – The first edition of “Alice in Wonderland” is published.

1881 – Booker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

1883 – Buffalo Bill Cody presents his first Wild West show in North Platte, Nebraska.

1895 – Katherine Lee Bates publishes the song “America the Beautiful.”

1939 – Baseball player Lou Gehrig makes his “luckiest man alive” speech. The Iron Horse took himself out of the Yankee lineup for health reasons after playing 2,130 consecutive games. He is later diagnosed with ALS, a disease that now bears his name.


1947 – A UFO crashes at Mack Brazel’s ranch near Roswell, New Mexico.

1966 – President LBJ signs the Freedom of Information Act.

1970 – Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” debuts on the radio. Kasem died at age 82 on June 15th.


1996 – Hotmail, a free Internet E-mail service, begins.


July 5

1775 – The Second Continental Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition in an attempt to assert the rights of the colonists while appearing to maintain their loyalty to Britain and submits it to King George on July 8th. King George refuses to read the petition and proclaims that the colonists have “proceeded to open and avowed rebellion.”

1865 – The U.S. Secret Service is created to fight the counterfeiting of money. The Secret Service is asked to protect presidents in 1901 after the assassination of President McKinley.

1934 – On “Bloody Thursday” police open fire on striking longshoremen in San Francisco during a riot, striking three men and mortally wounding two.

1937 – Joe DiMaggio hits his first grand slam home run.

1937 – The Hormel Foods Corporation introduces the luncheon meat Spam.


1983 – A baby girl is born in Roanoke, Virginia, to a mother who is brain dead for 84 days.

1986 – Nancy Reagan cuts a red, white and blue ribbon, reopening the Statue of Liberty after its refurbishment.

1989 – Former U.S. National Security Council aide Oliver North receives a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in the Iran-Contra affair. His convictions are later overturned.


1994 – The U.S. changes its refugee policy by sending back Haitian boat people.


July 6

1699 – The pirate Captain William Kidd is captured in Boston and sent to England for trial. He is convicted of piracy and murder and hanged in May 1701.

1785 – Congress unanimously resolves that the U.S. currency be named “dollar” and adopts decimal coinage.

1848 – The Mexican-American War ends with the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo.

1885 – Louis Pasteur administers the first inoculation for rabies in a human being. The vaccine is administered to a 9-year-old boy who had been attacked by a rabid dog. The boy survived and avoided contracting rabies.

1903 – George Wyman arrives in New York City by motorcycle after driving 51 days from San Francisco.


1908 – Robert Peary’s expedition, with a crew of 23, sails from New York City for the North Pole.

1924 – The first photo is sent experimentally across the Atlantic by radio from the U.S. to England.

1945 – Abbott and Costello’s film “The Naughty Nineties” is released featuring the longest version of their “Who’s on First” routine.

1945 – President Truman signs an executive order establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is awarded “for especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

1960 – Dr. Barbara Moore completes a 3,207-mile walk from Los Angeles to New York City.


1971 – President Nixon forms the White House Plumbers unit to plug news leaks after the “Pentagon Papers” are released to the New York Times.

1993 – John F. Kennedy Jr. gives notice he is quitting as Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. In 1995 he launches the magazine “George.” Kennedy, his wife, and sister-in-law died in a plane crash in July 1999.