This Week In History, April 28 – May 4


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of April 28-May 4, 2014

April 28

1818 – The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot Pact of 1817 limiting naval forces on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain except for small patrol vessels. The Convention of 1818 sets the boundary between the Missouri Territory and British North America (which becomes Canada) at the 49th parallel.

1855 – The first veterinary college in the U.S. is incorporated in Boston.

1937 – Pan Am makes the first commercial flight across the Pacific Ocean.

1967 – Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the army and is stripped of his boxing title.

1972 – Courts award the 1968 Kentucky Derby prize money to 2nd place winner “Forward Pass” after the winner “Dancer’s Image” is disqualified for being given drugs before the race.

1975 – Beatles John Lennon appears on “The Tonight Show” and Ringo Starr appears on “The Smothers Brothers Show.”

1988 – The roof tears off of Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 in flight after explosive decompression. One flight attendant is killed and 65 passengers are injured. The plane lands safely.


1994 – Former CIA officer Aldrich Ames and his wife Rosario plead guilty to spying. Aldrich is still serving a life sentence. Rosario is deported back to
Columbia in 1999 after completing her 5-year sentence.

2001 – Millionaire Dennis Tito becomes the world’s first space tourist. He spends eight days in space and visits the International Space Station at an estimated cost of $20 million.



April 29

1892 – Charlie Reilly is baseball’s first pinch hitter.

1927 – Construction is completed on the “Spirit of St. Louis,” which is designed by Charles Lindbergh. Two weeks later Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly across the Atlantic. Lindbergh died in 1974 at age 72.


1974 – President Nixon says he will release the edited Watergate tapes made in the White House that are subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee. The tapes are finally released in July. Nixon resigns on August 8th.

1975 – The U.S. begins to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon during Operation Frequent Wind prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war comes to an end.

1986 – Over 800,000 books are destroyed in a fire at the Los Angeles Central Library.

1992 – A jury acquits Los Angeles police officers of beating Rodney King. Rioting begins in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities.

2002 – The United States is re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights one year after losing the seat it had held for 50 years.

2004 – Oldsmobile builds its final car, an Alero, ending 107 years of production as America’s oldest car brand. The signatures of the Lansing plant employees are written inside the hood of the car.



April 30

1803 – The U.S. doubles in size through the Louisiana Purchase at a cost of $15 million.

1871 – The Camp Grant Massacre of Apaches in Arizona Territory, perpetrated by white and Mexican adventurers, kills 144.

1789 – George Washington is sworn in as the first U.S. President.

1885 – The Boston Pops Orchestra forms. Arthur Fiedler is its most famous conductor, who serves from1930 until just before his death in1979. The current conductor is Keith Lockhart.

1900 – Casey Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express. He applies the brake to try to slow the train because another train is too long for the side track, leaving the caboose on the main line.


1904 – The ice cream cone makes its debut at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

1925 – The automaker Dodge Brothers, Inc is sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

1947 – The Boulder Dam is renamed in honor of President Herbert Hoover.


1952 – Mr. Potato Head is the first toy advertised on television.

1972 – “Arthur Godfrey Time” ends its 27-year run on the radio. Various Godfrey shows are broadcast on radio and TV starting in 1948. Godfrey died in 1983 at age 79.

1975 – The last U.S. helicopter leaves the U.S. embassy grounds in Saigon, Viet Nam.

1988 – The largest banana split ever, at 4 ½ miles long, is made in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.


2009 – Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2011 Fiat buys the shares owned by the U.S. Treasury.


May 1

1751 – The first American cricket match is played.

1841 – The first emigrant wagon train leaves Independence, Missouri, headed for California.

1873 – The first U.S. postal card is issued.

1883 – “Buffalo Bill” Cody put on his first Wild West Show. Cody died in 1917 at age 70.


1931 – The Empire State Building opens in New York City as the tallest building in the world at 103 stories.

1935 – Boulder Dam is completed. It is 726’ high and 1,244’ long.

1940 – The 1940 Tokyo Summer Olympics are cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. The 1916 Summer Olympics, 1940 Winter Olympics, and 1944 Summer and Winter Olympics are the other cancelled Olympics.

1941 – General Mills introduces Cheerios cereal.

1943 – Food rationing begins in the U.S.

1961 – The first U.S. airplane is hijacked to Cuba. A National Airlines plane is hijacked from Miami to Cuba by Antulio Ramirez Ortiz.

1963 – James Whittaker becomes the first American to conquer Mount Everest.

1967 – Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu get married in Las Vegas. They are divorced in 1973. They have one daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, born in 1968.


1971 – Amtrak Railroad begins operation.

1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that employees have the legal burden to prove non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring or promoting.

1991 – Oakland A’s Rickey Henderson, in a baseball game against the Yankees breaks Lou Brocks record by stealing a record 939 bases. He goes on to steal 1,406 bases in his career.

2003 – In what becomes known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, U.S. President George W. Bush declares that, “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” on board the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California.


May 2

1865 – President Johnson offers a $100,000 reward for capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

1876 – Ross Barnes hits the first home run in the National League.

1885 – “Good Housekeeping” magazine is first published.

1908 – “Take me out to the Ball Game” is registered for copyright.

1932 – Jack Benny’s first radio show premieres on NBC. Jack Benny, always 39, started as a Vaudeville actor and starred in TV shows and movies. Benny died in 1974 at age 80.


1939 – Lou Gehrig ends his 2,130 consecutive games streak. He died of ALS (now called Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1941 at age 37.


1969 – British liner Queen Elizabeth II leaves on its maiden voyage to New York.

1974 – Former Vice President Spiro Agnew is disbarred.

2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man is killed by U.S. Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

2012 – Edvard Munch’s famous painting ‘The Scream” sells at auction in New York City for a record $119,922,500.


May 3

1802 – Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city.

1919 – America’s first passenger flight takes off from New York City and lands in Atlantic City.

1921 – West Virginia imposes the first state sales tax.

1923 – The first nonstop transcontinental flight (New York-San Diego) is completed.

1952 – The first airplane lands at the geographic North Pole.

1997 – Garry Kasparov begins a 6-game chess rematch with the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in Pennsylvania, winning 3 ½ to 2 ½.


2001 – The United States loses its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.


May 4

1780 – The American Academy of Arts & Science is founded when by 62 people sign the charter, including John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.

1893 – Cowboy Bob Pickett, the son of former slaves, invents the rodeo sport of bulldogging. Pickett died in 1932 at age 69 after being kicked in the head by a horse.



1904 – Construction on the Panama Canal is taken over by the United States from France, who started the project in 1881. The 48-mile-long canal is completed in 1914.

1919 – The first legal Sunday baseball game is played in New York City. The Phillies beat the Giants 4-3.

1932 – Al Capone, convicted of income tax evasion, enters Atlanta Penitentiary. He is paroled in 1939. Capone died in 1947 at age 48.


1959 – The first Grammy Awards are held. Perry Como and Ella Fitzgerald win as best vocalists.

1975 – Houston Astros’ Bob Watson scores baseball’s one-millionth run of all time. Watson now serves as Major Leagues Baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline and vice president of rules and on-field operations.

1998 – A federal judge in Sacramento, California, gives “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepts a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.


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