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 June 12-18, 2017
1665 – England installs a municipal government in New York City (the former Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam).
1787 – Article I, Section 3, Clause 3 of the Constitution provides that a senator must be at least 30 years old.
1849 – The gas mask is patented by Lewis Haslett of Louisville, Kentucky.
1908 – The Lusitania arrives in New York City after crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a record 4 days 15 hours. A German torpedo sinks the ship during World War I in June 1915 on a voyage from New York to England. The ship sinks in 18 minutes, with a loss of 1,195 of the 1,959 people on board, including 123 Americans.
1923 – Harry Houdini frees himself from a straight jacket while suspended upside down, 40 feet above ground in New York City.
1931 – Al Capone is indicted on 5,000 counts of prohibition and perjury.
1939 – The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.
1948 – Eddie Arcaro becomes the only jockey to win the Triple Crown twice. He wins in 1941 on Whirlaway and in 1948 on Citation. Watch a report, including an interview of Arcaro:
1965 – Sonny & Cher make their first TV appearance. The sing on the TV show “American Bandstand.” Watch them sing, “I Got You, Babe”:
1967 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ends laws against interracial marriages.
1979 – Bryan Allen of California flies the man-powered Gossamer Albatross over the English Channel in the first human-powered aircraft. The flight takes 2 hours, 49 minutes. American aeronautical engineer Paul MacCready, Jr. designs the craft.
1981 – “Raiders of the Lost Ark” opens in theaters across the U.S.
1987 – President Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Watch the president make his historic and prophetic demand:
1996 – Cincinnati Reds president and CEO Marge Schott gives up day-to-day operations because of her numerous insensitive comments about Adolf Hitler, working women, and Asians.
1998 – Compaq Computer pays $9 billion for Digital Equipment Corp. in largest high-tech acquisition at the time.
2009 – All television broadcasts in the U.S. switch from analog to digital transmission.
2016 – A terrorist claiming allegiance to the Islamic State opens fire the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and injuring 53, making it the worst mass shooting in the U.S.
1774 – Rhode Island becomes the first colony to prohibit the importation of slaves.
1777 – Marquis de Lafayette of France lands in the U.S. He serves in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, becoming life-long friends with George Washington.
1825 – Walter Hunt patents the safety pin then sells the rights to it for $400.
1865 – President Andrew Johnson proclaims reconstruction in the confederate states.
1920 – The U.S. Post Office Department rules that children may not be sent by parcel post. The rule stems from a 1914 incident when 5-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff is mailed to her grandparents by parcel post for 53 cents to avoid the train cost of $1.55. Charlotte May arrives safely.
1927 – New York City welcomes Charles A. Lindbergh with a ticker-tape parade. Watch a silent newsreel of his flight and parade:
1948 – Babe Ruth’s bids a final farewell to fans at Yankee Stadium on the 25th anniversary of the stadium. He dies August 16th.
1957 – A full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower sails from Plymouth, England, and reaches Plymouth, Massachusetts. Watch a narrated newsreel film:
1962 – “The Bob Newhart Show,” last airs on NBC-TV after one season. The show returns from 1972 to 1978 co-starring Suzanne Pleshette.
1966 – The Supreme Court rules on the Miranda case and decides that suspects must be informed of their rights.
1967 – Thurgood Marshall is nominated as the first black Supreme Court Justice.
1971 – The New York Times begins publishing “The Pentagon Papers.”
1979 – The Sioux Nation receives $100 million in compensation from the U.S. for taking Black Hills, South Dakota.
1981 – Tom Snyder interviews mass-murderer Charles Manson on the TV show “Tomorrow.”
1983 – Pioneer 10 becomes the first man-made object to leave our Solar System.
1987 – Daniel Buettner, Bret Anderson, Martin Engel, and Anne Knabe complete a cycling journey of 15,266 miles from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina in 308 days.
1996 – A group called the Montana Freeman give up to FBI following an 81-day standoff. Three of their members were arrested by the FBI on March 25th, which sparked the standoff. The FBI decided not to force out the Freemen after disastrous results at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993.
1997 – American fugitive Ira Einhorn is arrested in France for the murder of Holly Maddux after 16 years on the run, although he is not extradited until four years later. He is convicted in 2002 and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Einhorn is now 77 years old.
2002 – The U.S. withdraws from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
2005 – A jury in Santa Maria, California, acquits singer Michael Jackson of molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland Ranch.
1777 – The Continental Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes flag, replacing the Grand Union flag.
1834 – The hardhat diving suit is patented by Leonard Norcross of Dixfield, Maine.
1881 – The player piano is patented by John McTammany, Jr, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1900 – The Hawaiian Republic becomes the U.S. Territory of Hawaii.
1922 – President Warren G. Harding, while addressing a crowd at the dedication of a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, the composer of the “Star Spangled Banner,” becomes the first president to have his voice transmitted by radio.
1943 – The Supreme Court rules that schoolchildren cannot be made to salute the flag if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.
1949 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey survives a V2 rocket flight but dies on impact after a parachute failure, despite what the narrator says on this video newsreel:
1951 – The first commercial computer, UNIVAC 1, enters service at the Census Bureau.
1954 – President Eisenhower signs an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
1973 – President Richard Nixon’s administration imposes a 60-day nation-wide wage and price freeze.
1976 – “The Gong Show” premieres on TV and airs until 1980. Watch one of the all-time favorite acts:
1989 – Ground breaking begins on the world’s largest mall, Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota.
1989 – President Ronald Reagan is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
1989 – Zsa Zsa Gabor is arrested for slapping a Beverly Hills motorcycle patrolman. Zsa Zsa died in 2016 at age 99.
1990 – The Supreme Court rules that police DUI checkpoints for drunk drivers are constitutional.
2013 – The U.S. government charges former CIA employee Edward Snowden with violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property by leaking classified NSA information. Snowden, now 33 years old, was granted asylum in Russia.
2015 – “Jurassic World” opens, making it the first film to earn $500 million worldwide in its opening weekend.
1741 – Captain Vitus Bering leaves Petropavlovsk in Russia sailing to North America. He discovers Kodiak Island, Alaska. Bering died on a voyage in December.
1775 – George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of Continental Army.
1844 – Charles Goodyear patents the vulcanization of rubber.
1864 – Robert E. Lee’s home in Arlington, Virginia, becomes a military cemetery.
1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper becomes the first African American to graduate from West Point Military Academy.
1878 – Leland Stanford, former governor of California, hires photographer Eadweard Muybridge to make the first motion pictures to see if all 4 of a horse’s hooves leave the ground. Muybridge uses 12 cameras, each taking 1 picture. Watch the short silent film:
1887 – Carlisle D. Graham survives the third of his four successful rides over a Niagara waterfall in barrel. In 1901 Graham lent his newly designed barrel to Martha Wagenfuhrer, who became the first woman to successfully navigate through the rapids and whirlpool alone.
1924 – Ford Motor Company manufactures its 10 millionth Model T automobile.
1924 – J. Edgar Hoover assumes leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
1951 – “I Love Lucy” debuts on TV and airs until 1957.
1955 – The Eisenhower administration stages the first annual “Operation Alert” (OPAL) civil defense readiness exercise, an attempt to assess the America’s preparations for a nuclear attack.
1962 – Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) complete the Port Huron Statement, a radical manifesto written primarily by SDS co-founder Tom Hayden during a United Auto Workers retreat in Port Huron, Michigan. Hayden was married to Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990.
1969 – “Hee Haw” with Roy Clark and Buck Owens premiers on TV and air until 1993. Roy is now 84 years old. Buck died in 2006 at age 76. Watch a brief documentary including interviews with Roy Clark:
1978 – King Hussein of Jordan marries 26-year-old American Lisa Najeeb Halaby, who becomes Queen Noor. Hussein died in 1999 at age 63.
1979 – The first Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster qualification test firing lasts 122 seconds.
1982 – The Supreme Court rules that all children, regardless of citizenship, are entitled to a public education.
1983 – The Supreme Court strikes down two state and local restrictions on abortion. In the City of Akron v Akron Center, the court rules against a law requiring parental consent for abortions for girls under age 15. On the same day the court also rules against a Missouri law requiring abortions in the second trimester be performed at a hospital.
1994 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg is sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice. Justice Ginsburg is now 84 years old.
2012 – A rare working Apple I computer sells at a New York auction for a record $374,500. The 36-year-old circuit board was built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Only 200 were made, and of the estimated 50 units that survive, only six are still working.
2015 – Real estate mogul Donald Trump and Florida governor Jeb Bush both officially launch their presidential campaigns.
1858 – Abraham Lincoln says, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” when accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate.
1903 – “Pepsi-Cola” is officially registered with the U.S. Patent Office. Pepsi is invented in 1893 by Caleb David Bradham of North Carolina as “Brad’s Drink” and is sold to aid in digestion. He renames it Pepsi after the two main ingredients, pepsin and cola. Bradham launches the company in the back room of his pharmacy in 1902.
1909 – Glenn Curtiss sells the first commercial airplane in the U.S. for $5,000. The Aeronautical Society of New York purchases the plane.
1909 – Jim Thorpe makes his professional pitching debut in baseball for the Rocky Mount Railroaders with a 4-2 win. This causes him to forfeit his 1912 Olympic medals by violating the amateur status rules. Thorpe’s medals are restored in 1983, 30 years after his death.
1933 – The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is created.
1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the closure of all the German consulates in the United States. The deadline is set as July 10.
1941 – National Airport opens in Washington, DC. The airlines draw straws to determine who would land at National Airport first and American Airlines wins the honor. The airplane is piloted by Bennett H. Griffin, who becomes the manager of National Airport in 1947.
1966 – “Rowan & Martin Show” debuts on TV. The show is hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. Rowan and Martin launch “Laugh-In” in 1967. Watch one of the weekly joke walls:
1967 – Over 50,000 people attend the Monterey International Pop Festival in Monterey, California.
1968 – Lee Trevino wins the U.S. Open Golf Tournament and is the first golfer to play all 4 rounds of the golf tournament under par.
1987 – Subway Vigilante Bernhard Goetz is acquitted on all but gun possession charges after shooting 4 black teenagers who tried to rob him on the subway.
2000 – Federal regulators approve the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp, creating the nation’s largest local phone company.
2008 – California begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
1579 – Sir Francis Drake lands on the northern coast of California and names it “New Albion,” claiming it for England.
1775 – The Battle of Bunker Hill, a pivotal battle during the Revolutionary War, is actually fought on Breed’s Hill.
1863 – Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford is chartered as the first accident insurer.
1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City aboard French ship “Isere.”
1894 – The first U.S. poliomyelitis (polio) epidemic breaks out in Rutland, Vermont.
1902 – Congress passes the New Lands Reclamation Act, which establishes a fund from the sale of public lands to build irrigation dams for arid western lands.
1915 – The League to Enforce Peace is organized at Independence Hall in Philadelphia with former president William Howard Taft as its president. The LEP program eventually supports the League of Nations.
1928 – Amelia Earhart leaves Newfoundland to become the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The plane is piloted by Wilmer Stultz.
1932 – During the Bonus Army March about a thousand World War I veterans amass at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Senate considers a bill that would give them certain benefits. Watch a news report using actual footage:
1947 – Pan Am Airways is chartered as the first worldwide passenger airline.
1950 – The first kidney transplant in the U.S. is performed on 44-year-old Ruth Tucker. Although Tucker’s body rejects the kidney, she lives for five more years with one functioning kidney.
1953 – Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas stays the executions of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg scheduled for the next day on their 14th wedding anniversary. The Supreme Court vacates the Douglas stay and the Rosenbergs are executed on the 19th.
1963 – The Supreme Court bans the required reading of the Lord’s Prayer and Bible reading in public schools.
1972 – Five White House “plumbers” are apprehended after the second burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.
1972 – The Main Street Electrical Parade premiers at Disneyland in California. Watch the first parade:
1980 – Carolyn Shoemaker discovers asteroid #2586 Matson. She holds the record for the most asteroids discovered by any individual.
1982 – President Reagan delivers his first address to the U.N. General Assembly.
1988 – Stella Nickell is sentenced to 90 years in prison in the first product tampering murder case instituted after the Chicago Tylenol murders. Nickell is convicted of killing her husband and a woman by poisoning bottles of Extra-Strength Excedrin. Nickell will be eligible for parole in 2018 when she is 75 years old.
1994 – Murder suspect OJ Simpson leads Los Angeles police on a chase in his Ford Bronco for 1 and 1/2 hours. The slow motion car chase is seen live on TV. Watch a CNN report on the chase and hear the conversation between OJ and a helicopter pilot:
2015 – Nine people are shot and killed inside Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a 21-year-old gunman. As a result of this event, Confederate flags are banned in many public buildings. The trial of Dylann Roof is scheduled for November.
2015 – The U.S. Treasury announces that the image of Alexander Hamilton will be replaced on the $10 bill by an image of a woman (to be named in 2020).
1682 – William of Penn founds Pennsylvania.
1812 – The War of 1812 begins when the U.S. declares war against Britain.
1873 – Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for voting for president.
1898 – The first amusement park, Steel Pier, opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1912 – The Chicago national Republican Convention splits between President Taft and former president Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909). After Taft is nominated, Roosevelt and progressive elements of the Party form the Progressive Party (also known as the Bull Moose Party).
1928 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as she completes a flight from Newfoundland to Wales.
1959 – A Federal Court annuls the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration.
1961 – “Gunsmoke” is broadcast for the last time on CBS radio. It first airs in 1952. Gunsmoke airs on TV from 1955 to 1975, making it the longest-running TV western show.
1968 – The Supreme Court bans racial discrimination in the sale and rental of housing.
1977 – The Space Shuttle test model “Enterprise” carries a crew aloft for the first time. It is fixed atop a modified Boeing 747. The Enterprise never flew into space. Watch the stacked crafts takeoff:
1979 – President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II treaty limiting nuclear weapons.
1981 – Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart retires. Sandra Day O’Connor replaces him, becoming the first woman on U.S. Supreme Court.
1983 – The Challenger Space Shuttle launches with Sally Ride on board as the first American woman in space. Ride died in 2012 at age 61. Watch an interview with Sally Ride:
1990 – Hale Irwin wins the first sudden death U.S. Open Golf Championship, also making him the oldest U.S. Open champion at age 45.
2003 – Google launches AdSense, a program that enables website publishers to serve ads targeted to the specific content of their individual web pages.