This Week in History, Week of August 24-30, 2015


This Week In History

by Dianne Hermann


“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.

They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

– Thomas Jefferson


Week of August 24-30, 2015



August 24


1814 – British forces capture Washington, DC and burn down many landmarks, including the U.S. Capitol and the President’s Mansion. The Library of Congress, housed in the Capitol building, suffers extensive damage.


1853 – Chef George Crum of Moon’s Lake House Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York, prepares the first potato chips after a customer complains his fried potatoes are too thick.


1891 – Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera.


1912 – New York City holds a ticker tape parade for Jim Thorpe and other victorious U.S. Olympians from the Stockholm Sweden Summer Olympics.


1932 – Amelia Earhart starts the first transcontinental non-stop flight by a woman. She also set the women’s record for fastest non-stop transcontinental flight (twice, 1932 and 1933).


1954 – President Eisenhower signs Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the U.S.


1956 – The first non-stop transcontinental helicopter flight arrives in Washington, DC. The H-21 Shawnee helicopter lands after a 31-hour flight from San Diego, California. It is also the first in-flight refueling of a helicopter.


1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for John Lennon’s murder in December 1980. Chapman is denied parole 7 times from the Wende Correctional Facility in New York and he is now 60 years old.


1989 – Pete Rose is suspended from baseball for life for gambling. He retires from baseball in 1986 and becomes the Cincinnati Reds manager in 1987. The ban makes Rose ineligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


2001 – The remains of nine American servicemen killed in the Korean War are returned to the U.S. The bodies are found about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. It is estimated that it will be a year before the identies of the soldiers would be known.


2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a Dwarf Planet.


2011 – Tim Cook succeeds Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple Inc. due to Jobs’ illness. Jobs died in 2011 at age 56.


2012 – A U.S. jury in California finds that Samsung is guilty of patent infringement and awards over $1 billion in damages to Apple.



August 25


1829 – President Jackson makes an offer to buy Texas, but the Mexican government refuses. President John Q. Adams offers to buy Mexico for $1 million two years earlier. His offer was also rejected.


1902 – “Al-Hoda” begins publication in New York City, making it the first Arabic daily newspaper in the U.S.


1916 – The National Park Service is established as part of the Department of the Interior.


1920 – Ethelda Bleibtrey becomes the first U.S. woman to win a medal in the Olympics (swimming). She wins three gold medals and sets three world records in Olympic swimming competitions in Antwerp, Belgium. Bleibtrey started swimming as therapy to overcome the effects of polio.


1932 – Amelia Earhart completes her transcontinental flight of over 2,400 miles in 19 hours.


1940 – The first parachute wedding takes place at the World’s Fair in New York City. The bride and groom, minister, best man and maid of honor, and four musicians are suspended in parachutes.


1949 – “Father Knows Best” debuts on the radio. The show moves to TV in 1954 and airs until 1960. Both shows star Robert Young. Watch the original TV show opening:


1950 – President Harry Truman orders the army to seize control of railroads to avert a strike.


1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first black person to win the U.S. singles tennis championship. Ashe contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion and died in 1993 at age 49. Watch a report about his championship win and career:


1970 – Elton John performs his first U.S. concert in Los Angeles.


1983 – The U.S. and the Soviet Union sign a $10 billion grain pact.


1989 – After a 12-year, 4-billion-mile journey, Voyager 2 flies over the cloud tops of the planet Neptune and its moon Triton, sending back photographs.


1997 – The tobacco industry agrees to an $11.3 billion settlement with the state of Florida.


1998 – A survey released says that one-third of Americans use the Internet.


2012 – NASA’s Voyager 1 becomes the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space. It is launched in 1977.



August 26


1839 – The slave ship Amistad is captured off Long Island, New York, after a mutiny. The slaves are tried and acquitted because it is deemed they are not property, but had been kidnapped. Donations help repatriate the freed slaved to Sierra Leone.


1842 – The first fiscal year is established by the U.S. Congress to start on July 1st.


1843 – Charles Thurber of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents the typewriter. Thurber’s machine is never manufactured and the only model in existence is in a Worcester museum.


1873 – Susan Blow starts the first free kindergarten in the U.S. in Carondelet, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.


1895 – George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla build America’s first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. Electric Central at Niagara Falls gives off steam using hydroelectricity for the first time.


1907 – Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini escapes from chains underwater in 57 seconds at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park.


1920 – The 19th amendment passes granting women’s suffrage (right to vote).


1939 – In the first major league baseball telecast, the Reds beat the Brooklyn Dodgers.


1946 – George Orwell publishes his book “Animal Farm.”


1947 – Don Bankhead is the first black baseball pitcher. Bankhead hits a homerun on his first at bat.


1957 – The first Edsel made by the Ford Motor Company rolls of the assembly line. The car is produced for only 3 years.


1971 – The New York Giants football team signs a 30-year lease for a 75,000-seat stadium to be built in New Jersey for the 1975 season. They move from the Bronx into Giant Stadium in 1976 and play their first game against the Dallas Cowboys, losing to the Cowboys 24-14.


1973 – The University of Texas at Arlington is the first accredited school to offer belly dancing.


1987 – The Fuller Brush Company announces plans to open two retail stores in Dallas, Texas. The company is started by Arthur C. Fuller and sells its products door to door for 81 years.


2003 – The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final reports on Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.



August 27


1667 – The earliest recorded hurricane in the U.S. strikes Jamestown, Virginia.


1859 – Edwin Drake drills the first successful oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania.


1894 – Congress passes the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which includes a graduated income tax. The Supreme Court strikes it down in 1895 as unconstitutional. The 16th Amendments is ratified in 1913 allowing Congress to levy personal income taxes.


1912 – Edgar Rice Burroughs publishes “Tarzan of the Apes.”

1928 – The U.S. is one of 15 countries to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlaws war. Forty-seven other countries later sign the Pact. The Senate ratifies it 85-1.


1945 – American troops land in Japan after the surrender of the Japanese government at the end of World War II.


1955 – The “Guinness Book of World Records” is first published in London. The first issue is 197 pages. The following year it is published in the United States and sells 70,000 copies. It is published every October.


1961 – Francis the Talking Mule (with Chill T. Wills providing the voice) is the mystery guest on the TV show “What’s My Line?” Francis (in reality a female mule named Molly) is the first recipient of the American Humane Association Annual Patsy Award in 1950. The award is given for an outstanding performance by an animal appearing in motion pictures.


1976 – Transsexual Renee Richards, born Richard Raskind, is barred from competing in U.S. Tennis Open. The New York Supreme Court rules in her favor and Richards plays in the 1977 U.S. Open. She is now 81 years old.


1984 – President Ronald Reagan announces that the first citizen to go into space will be a teacher. The teacher who is eventually chosen is Christa McAuliffe. She died in the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 at ge 37.


1996 – California Governor Pete Wilson signs an order that would halt state benefits to illegal immigrants.


2001 – Work begins on the future site of a World War II memorial on the U.S. capital’s historic National Mall. The site is located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.


2008 – Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States.


2012 – The first interplanetary human voice recording is broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden makes the 169-word recording.



August 28


1609 – Henry Hudson discovers and explores Delaware Bay.


1830 – The first locomotive train in the U.S., “Tom Thumb,” runs from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill, Maryland, carrying the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad directors. It hauls passengers until 1831 but is never put into regular service. “Tom Thumb” is salvaged for parts in 1834.


1845 – Scientific American magazine publishes its first issue.


1907 – The United Parcel Service (UPS) is founded by teenagers James E. Casey and Claude Ryan in Seattle, Washington.


1917 – Ten suffragists are arrested as they picket in front of the White House.


1922 – The first radio commercial airs on WEAF in New York City. The Queensboro Realty Company buys 10 minutes of time for $100.


1938 – Northwestern University awards an honorary degree to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s dummy Charlie McCarthy.


1955 – In the first NFL preseason sudden death football game the Rams beats the Giants 23-17.


1957 – Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) begins a 24-hour 18-minute filibuster against the Civil Rights Bill. He still holds the record for the longest filibuster in Congress. The bill passes less than 2 hours after Thurmond ends his filibuster.


1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King is assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.


1981 – The National Centers for Disease Control announces a high incidence of Pneumocystis and Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men. Both diseases are later linked to HIV and AIDS.


1995 – The biggest bank in the U.S. is created when Chase Manhattan and Chemical Bank announce their $10 billion deal.


2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in the southeastern U.S., hammering New Orleans, Louisiana, and coastal Mississippi.


2014 – Google announces its Project Wing, aimed at delivering products across a city using unmanned flying vehicles (drones).



August 29


1758 – The New Jersey Legislature forms the first Indian reservation in the U.S. for the Lenni-Lenape Indians.


1862 – The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins operation, with Salmon P. Chase as the Treasury Secretary, by printing $1 and $2 bills. Salmon P. Chase appears on the $10,000 bill. He is one of only three men who appear on currency who were not presidents. Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill and Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 bill.


1885 – The first prizefight under the Marquis of Queensberry rules is held in Cincinnati, Ohio. John L. Sullivan defeats Dominick McCaffery in six rounds.


1904 – The first Olympics ever held in the U.S. opens in St. Louis, Missouri, with 651 athletes (645 men and 6 women) representing 12 participating countries.


1909 – American Glenn Curtiss wins the world’s first air race in his airplane “The June Bug.” The race is held in Rheims, France, over a 20-kilometer course. Curtiss flies the course at 46.5 miles per hour in less than 16 minutes.


1944 – An estimated 15,000 American troops liberating Paris, France, march down the Champs Elysees.


1949 – A nuclear device is used for the first time to treat cancer patients at the University of Illinois.


1958 – The Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


1966 – The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Listen to The Beatles with actual video footage and still photos:


1967 – The final TV episode of “The Fugitive” airs. It is the most watched TV show at that time with 46 percent of households with a TV tuning in.


2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a Category 3 hurricane devastating much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $115 billion in damage.



August 30


1682 – William Penn, a Quaker, leaves England to sail to the New World aboard the ship Welcome. After arriving in Pennsylvania he and a group of Quaker Friends found Philadelphia, which is Greek for “city of brotherly love.”


1884 – Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey (born John Edward Kelly) wins the middleweight boxing title in the first fight with boxing gloves. Over his 12-year professional career, Dempsey is defeated only three times in 68 bouts. He died of TB in 1895 at the age of 32.


1901 – Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner.


1905 – Ty Cobb makes his major league batting debut with the Detroit Tigers.


1945 – General Douglas MacArthur sets up Allied occupation headquarters in Japan.


1963 – A hotline communications link between the Pentagon near D.C. and the Kremlin in Moscow begins.


1967 – The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first black Supreme Court Justice. He serves until 1991. Marshall died in 1993 at age 84.


1979 – The first recorded occurrence of a comet hitting the sun produces energy equal to 1 million hydrogen bombs.


1984 – President Ronald Reagan is inducted into the Sportscasters Hall of Fame.


1990 – The Seattle Mariners become the first baseball team to have father-son teammates when Ken Griffey, Sr. (age 40) and son Ken Griffey, Jr. (age 20) play a game together.


1993 – The CBS-TV “The Late Show with David Letterman” premieres. Watch the first episode:


1994 – The largest U.S. defense contractor is created when the Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations agree to a merger.


1997 – In the first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Championship the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty.