This Week In History, July 27


by Dianne Hermann


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

         – Winston Churchill           


Week of July 29-August 4, 2013


July 29

1920 – The first of three JL-6 aircraft leave New York for San Francisco on the inaugural transcontinental airmail flight. Former WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker is one of the passengers.

1958 – President Eisenhower signs into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA).

1976 – Liz Taylor and Richard Burton divorce for the second time. They divorce for the first time in 1974.

Liz And Dick

Photo of Liz & Dick, Star-crossed lovers like the characters they played in Cleopatra

1988 – A judge orders NASA to release the 2-minutes of unedited tape from the Challenger cockpit after the Space Shuttle explodes on takeoff on January 28th.


1990 – The Boston Red Sox set the major league baseball record with 12 doubles in a single game.


July 30

1733 – Eighteen men gather at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern on King Street in Boston and organize the first Masonic Lodge in North America.

Bunch of Grapes

Photo of plaque commemorating the tavern

1839 – Slaves take over the slave ship Amistad after 60 days at sea and are arrested in New York. The district court judge ruled that the slaves are free men, and orders them released from prison. He also orders that the United States government transport them back to Africa. The Supreme Court upholds the decision.


Photo of the Amistad

1909 – The Wright Brothers deliver the first military plane to the army after meeting strict criteria and are paid $30,000.

1928 – George Eastman shows the first Kodacolor 16-mm color film to friends, including Thomas Edison and General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, at his home in Rochester, New York.


1975 – Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa disappears in suburban Detroit. His body is never found.

July 31

1792 – The cornerstone is laid for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, the first United States government building.


Photo of First Mint 1792, since demolished

1876 – The United States Coast Guard officers’ training school is established in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

1970 – Chet Huntley retires from NBC, ending the “Huntley-Brinkley Report.” Goodnight, Chet.

1987 – Rockwell International is awarded a contract to build a fifth space shuttle, the Endeavor, to replace the Challenger. Final estimated cost: $1.7 billion.

1991 – The U.S. Senate votes to allow women to fly combat aircraft. Air Force Colonel Martha McSally is the first woman to fly a combat mission after the 43-year ban is lifted.


August 1

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken showing a population of 3,939,214, of which 697,624 are slaves. The current U.S. population is about 316 million.

1943 – Navy Lt. John F. Kennedy’s PT-boat 109 sinks near the Solomon Islands. The crew swims to Naru Island and is rescued on August 7th.

PC 101

Photo of JFK on the PT 109

1957 – The Bridgers and Paxton Office Building in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the first commercial building to be heated by solar energy. It is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

1958 – The first class postage goes up to 4 cents after having cost 3 cents for 26 years. A first class postage stamp in 2013 is now 46 cents.

3 cent stamp

Photo of the 3 cent stamp

2001 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has a Ten Commandments monument installed in the judiciary building, leading to a lawsuit to have the monument removed and him removed from office. District Court Judge Myron Thompson orders Moore to remove the Ten Commandments from the courthouse rotunda within fifteen days. Moore refuses, but the monument is later moved to a room that is not open for public viewing. On August 23, 2003, a panel of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously votes to remove Judge Moore from the bench.


August 2

1610 – Henry Hudson enters bay later named after him, the Hudson Bay.

1819 – The first parachute jump in United States takes place in New York when Mr. Guilles jumps from a hot air balloon and travels airborne for half an hour over about eight miles before successfully landing in Bushwick.

1st parachute jump

Photo of newspaper article about the 1st parachute jump

1865 – Lewis Carroll publishes “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

1873 – A San Francisco cable car travels on Clay Street between Kearny and Jones Streets during its first trial run. Cable cars still traverse the streets of San Francisco.

1921 – A Chicago jury brings back a not guilty verdict against eight Chicago White Sox players for throwing the 1919 baseball World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds win the series 5 games to 3. The trial is dubbed the “Black Sox Scandal.”


August 3

1900 – Harvey Firestone starts the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio.


Photo of Firestone office staff, 1909

1921 – Baseball Commissioner Judge “Kenesaw Mountain” Landis announces that he will banish from baseball for life the eight White Sox players involved in the 1919 World Series scandal, despite their acquittal, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes our 30th president after the sudden and unexpected death of President Warren Harding following an apparent heart attack.

1949 – The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merge to form National Basketball Association (NBA).

1981 – The 13,000 PATCO Union air traffic controllers begin their illegal strike. President Reagan fires them on August 5th.

2004 – The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopens after being closed since the September 11, 2001, attacks. It opens again on July 4, 2013, after being closed for damages sustained when Hurricane Sandy struck in October of 2012.

August 4

1892 – The bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are found in their house in Fall River, Massachusetts. Their daughter, Sunday school teacher Lizzie Borden, is arrested for their murders a week later.


Photo of Lizzie Borden, check out the history here

1972 – Arthur Bremer is jailed for 63 years for shooting Alabama Governor George Wallace, paralyzing the governor. Bremer is released early on November 9, 2007, for being a ‘model inmate.’ Former Gov. Wallace dies in 1998. Arthur Bremer is still alive.

1977 – President Jimmy Carter establishes the Department of Energy.

1985 – The musical “Dreamgirls” closes at the Imperial Theater in New York City after 1,522 performances. The movie “Dreamgirls” premiers in 2006 starring former American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson who wins an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

1988 – Congress votes to award $20,000 to each Japanese-American interned during WW II. President Reagan signs HR #442 on August 10th.  Rev. Mamoru Eto of Los Angeles, age 107, is the first to receive a check on October 9, 1990