This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past,
for human events ever resemble those of preceding times.”
Week of Sept. 4-10, 2017
1781 – Los Angeles, California, is founded by Spanish settlers. The original name is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula,” which translates as “The Town of the Queen of Angels.”
1813 – The “Religious Remembrancer Christian Observer” is the first religious newspaper published in the U.S. It is started at the Presbyterian Publishing Center of Philadelphia.
1833 – Ten-year-old Barney Flaherty is hired by the New York Sun as the first newsboy in America.
1886 – Apache Chief Geronimo surrenders, ending last major U.S.-Indian war. He dies at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909 at the age of 79.
1923 – The USS airship Shenandoah makes her maiden flight at Lakehurst, New Jersey. On September 3, 1925, on its 57th flight, the Shenandoah crashes after it is caught in a storm over Ohio, killing all 14 crewmembers on board.
1950 – For the first time a helicopter is used to rescue an American soldier behind enemy lines. Captain Robert E. Wayne is rescued after his aircraft is shot down over Korea. H-5 helicopter pilot First Lieutenant Paul van Boven is awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.
1950 – Darlington Raceway is the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race.
1951 – The first live, coast-to-coast TV broadcast in the U.S. takes place in San Francisco, California, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference. It is seen all the way to New York City.
1957 – The Arkansas National Guard is ordered by Democrat Governor Orval Faubus to keep nine black students from going into Little Rock’s Central High School.
1966 – The first Muscular Dystrophy telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis is held over this Labor Day weekend. Jerry Lewis started local and regional MD events in 1952. The first telethon raises $15,000. The telethons have raised over $2 billion in 50 years. Lewis died in August 2017 at age 91. Watch an early telethon clip:
1967 – Michigan Gov. George Romney, who was a presidential candidate for the 1968 republican nomination, said during a TV interview that he had undergone “brainwashing” by U.S. officials while visiting Vietnam in 1965. Romney dropped out of the presidential race in February of 1968.
1972 – U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz becomes the first athlete to win 7 Olympic gold medals (in swimming) while competing in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. Michael Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in Olympic history, 23 medals total in 2004, 2008, and 2012 also for swimming. Spitz is now 67 years old. Watch Spitz swim for his 7 gold medals:
1774- The Continental Congress assembles for the first time in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia with 56 delegates from 12 colonies (Georgia is not represented).
1881 – The American Red Cross provides relief for disaster for the first time after the Great Fire of 1881 in Michigan.
1906 – Saint Louis University football player Bradbury Robinson makes the first legal forward pass in football to teammate Jack Schneider.
1939 – President FDR declares U.S. neutrality at the start of World War II in Europe.
1945 – Iva Toguri D’Aquino is arrested for being the wartime radio propagandist “Tokyo Rose.” She serves six years in prison and is later pardoned by President Gerald Ford. D’Aquino died in 2006 at age 90.
1960 – Wilma Rudolph, called the world’s fastest woman, wins her second of three gold medals in track and field at the Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Wilma suffered from polio as a child and overcame numerous childhood health issues and racial barriers to compete in the Olympics. After the 1960 Olympics she becomes a teacher and track coach. Wilma died of brain cancer in November 1994 at age 54.
1960 – Cassius Clay (later Mohamed Ali) captures the light heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rome. Watch a report with actual fight footage:
1975 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempts to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. Fromme is sentenced to life in prison and is released on parole in 2009. She is now 68 years old.
1978 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter start a peace conference at Camp David, Maryland. Sadat and Begin shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.
1983 – The “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) becomes the first hour-long network news TV show. It started in 1975 as a half-hour news program. MacNeil retired from the show in 1995 and Lehrer retired in 2011. Robert MacNeil is now 86 and Jim Lehrer is 83 years old.
2003 – In London, American magician David Blaine enters a clear plastic box and is suspended by a crane over the banks of the Thames River. He remains there until October 19 surviving only on water. Watch a video of his feat:
1716 – The first lighthouse in the U.S., The Boston Light, is built in Boston, Massachusetts.
1899 – Carnation evaporated milk (called Carnation Sterilized Cream) is processed for the first time at a plant in Kent, Washington. The company later changes its name to Carnation Milk Company.
1901 – President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He died 8 days later. Vice President Teddy Roosevelt becomes president.
1909 – Word reaches civilization that Admiral Robert Peary successfully traveled to the North Pole 5 months earlier. The New York Times prints the story on the 7th, but Dr. Frederick A. Cook claims to have reached the pole in April 1908, one year before Peary.
1954 – The Alan Freed Show premiers at WINS radio in New York City and he begins playing what he calls “Rock ‘n Roll” music. In 1962, Freed plead guilty during the “payola” scandal to two charges of commercial bribery, was fined, and received a suspended sentence. Freed, who died in 1965 at the age of 43, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1914, Freed’s ashes were removed from the Hall of Fame and moved to a Cleveland cemetery.
1975 – Eighteen-year-old Czech tennis star Martina Navratilova asks the U.S. for political asylum in New York City during the US Tennis Open. Martina is granted a green card within a month. (She loses the US Open to Chris Evert.)
1995 – Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles breaks Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record when he plays in 2,131 consecutive baseball games. Ripken stretches the record to 2,632 consecutive games over his 16-year career. Watch him homer in the game:
1995 – Robert Packwood (R-OR) resigns from the Senate under threat of expulsion by the Senate Ethics Committee for sexual harassment.
2000 – The U.N. Millennium Summit begins in New York. It is the largest gathering of world leaders in history with more than 150 dignitaries attending.
2002 – Congress convenes at Federal Hall in New York City for a rare special session to express the nation’s mourning for the loss on September 11, 2001, and express unity in the war against terrorism.
1813 – “Uncle Sam” is first used to refer to the United States. The nickname is attributed to meatpacker Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, who supplies barrels of meat to American troops during the War of 1812. The barrels are stamped with “U.S.” and the meat is soon referred to as Uncle Sam’s.
1876 – An attempted robbery by the James/ Younger gang of the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, fails and a resident is killed as the gang escapes. Frank and Jesse James get away, but Cole, Bob, and Jim Younger are arrested weeks later, tried, convicted of murder, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Bob dies in prison in 1889. Jim is pardoned in 1901 but commits suicide the next year. Cole is also pardoned in 1901 and dies in 1916. Jesse James is murdered in 1882 and Frank James dies in 1915 at the age of 72.
1888 – Edith Eleanor McLean is the first baby placed in an incubator, called a “hatching cradle.” She is born premature at State Emigrant Hospital on Ward’s Island, New York, weighing only 2 pounds 7 ounces.
1915 – Johnny Gruelle patents his Raggedy Ann doll. Gruelle died in 1938 at age 57.
1956 – Air Force Capt. Iven Kincheloe, Jr., sets an unofficial manned aircraft altitude record when he flies his Bell X-2 more than 126,000 feet above the earth. The U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense refuse to confirm the record and have never changed their decision.
1963 – The Professional Football Hall of Fame is dedicated in Canton, Ohio.
1979 – The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) makes its television debut.
1981 – Judge Wapner and the People’s Court premiers on TV. Judge Joseph Wapner is now 97 years old. Watch the judge discuss his most memorable case:
2008 – The U.S. Government takes control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage / financing companies in the U.S.
1565 – St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S., is established.
1883 – The Northern Pacific Railroad drives in the last spike at Independence Creek, Montana.
1892 – The “Pledge of Allegiance” first appears in print in The Youth’s Companion. Baptist minister Francis Bellamy is the author.
1900 – Over 6,000 people are killed when a hurricane and tidal wave destroy Galveston, Texas. It is the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
1916 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Emergency Revenue Act, doubling the rate of income tax and adding inheritance and munitions profits tax.
1920 – U.S. Air Mail service begins (New York City to San Francisco).
1921 – The first Miss America, 16-year-old Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C, is crowned in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Fall Frolic, held a year earlier as a way to keep tourists in Atlantic City, is the precursor to the pageant. The longest serving Miss America Pageant host is Bert Parks (1955-1979).
1951 – Japan signs a treaty of peace with 48 countries in San Francisco following the end of World War I.
1966 – “Star Trek” premieres on TV and airs for only three seasons. There are two highly successful TV spin-offs and 10 movies from two of the three “Star Trek” TV shows. Watch the premiere opening credits:
1974 – President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard Nixon of all federal crimes related to the Watergate scandal.
1994 – The MTV awards feature newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. They file for divorce in 1996. Watch the pair open the awards ceremonies:
2005 – Two EMERCOM Il-76 aircraft land at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock Air Force Base, making it the first time Russia has flown such a mission to North America.
1675 – The New England colonies declare war on the Wampanoag Indians, who live in what is now Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is believed that Thanksgiving is based on the interaction between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians years earlier.
1776 – The Continental Congress renames the “United Colonies” the “United States.”
1830 – Charles Durant, the first U.S. aeronaut, flies a hot air balloon from Castle Garden in New York City to Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
1861 – Sally Tompkins becomes the only female Confederate Army commissioned officer during the Civil War. Captain Tompkins, called “The Angel of the Confederacy,” founded and directed Robertson Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.
1945 – Grace Hopper discovers the first “bug” in a computer while working with her associates at Harvard. A moth is removed from a relay with tweezers.
1955 – Elvis Presley makes his first of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Actor Charles Laughton hosts for Ed, who is recovering from a serious car accident. Watch Elvis in a 1956 performance:
1963 – Gov. George Wallace (D-AL) is served with a federal injunction to stop his orders that state police bar black students from enrolling in white schools in Alabama.
1987 – Democrat presidential candidate Gary Hart admits on the TV news show “Nightline” to cheating on his wife. Hart dropped out of the presidential primary in March 1988. Hart is now 80 years old. Watch part of the TV interview:
2008 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 100 million applications downloaded.
2009 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 1.8 billion applications downloaded.
2014 – Apple unveils the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.
1608 – John Smith is elected president of the Colony Council in Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent British colony in North American.
1858 – John Holden hits the first recorded home run during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Eckfords and the New York Mutuals.
1913 – The Lincoln Highway opens as the first paved coast-to-coast highway. It measures 3,389 miles from New York to California.
1924 – Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb are found guilty of murdering Bobby Franks, a 14-year-old acquaintance. Their lawyer is Clarence Darrow. (The following year Darrow will represent a teacher in the Scopes Monkey Trial.) Leopold and Loeb, teenagers at the time of the murder, are sentenced to life in prison. Loeb is killed in prison in 1936. In 1958, after thirty-four years of confinement, Leopold is released from prison. He moved to Puerto Rico, where he died in 1971 at the age of 65.
1948 – Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars is indicted for treason in Washington, DC. She is convicted and spends 12 years in prison. Gillars was a Nazi radio propagandist during World War II.
1953 – Swanson sells its first “TV dinner.” It is a turkey dinner. Watch a 1955 commercial:
1979 – President Carter grants clemency to four Puerto Rican nationalists who had been imprisoned for an attack on the House of Representatives in 1954 and an attempted assassination of President Truman in 1950.
1984 – Sean O’Keefe, age 11, becomes the youngest person to cycle across the U.S. It takes Sean 24 days.
1984 – Alex Trebek hosts his first episode of daily syndicated version of the game show Jeopardy! Art Fleming was the first Jeopardy! host. Trebek is 77 years old.
1992 – Lucy Van Pelt in the Peanuts comics raises her Psychiatric Help from 5 cents to 47 cents.
2012 – Teachers in Chicago go on strike, affecting 350,000 students. The strike by 29,000 teachers ends on September 18th.