This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins
Aug 28-Aug 3, 2023
1830 – The first steam locomotive train built in the U.S., “Tom Thumb,” runs from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill, Maryland, carrying the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad directors. It hauled passengers until 1831 but was never put into regular service. “Tom Thumb” was salvaged for parts in 1834.
1907 – The United Parcel Service (UPS) is founded by teenagers James E. Casey and Claude Ryan in Seattle, Washington, as the American Messenger Company with a $100 investment. The company started making deliveries in a Model T Ford in 1913. UPS, now headquartered near Atlanta, Georgia, is the largest package delivery company in the world, delivering nearly 25.2 million packages daily.
1917 – Ten suffragists are arrested as they picket in front of the White House. They had been picketing every day since January. Ninety-seven of the suffragettes who were arrested between June and November 1907 spent time in either a workhouse or jail. Many of the women went a hunger strike and were force fed through a Nasogastric tube (a tube inserted through the nose into the stomach). It was another three years before the 19th Amendment was passed granting women the right to vote. The 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1869 and ratified in 1870.
1957 – Democrat Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina 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 was a watered-down version of the original House bill after Senate Majority Leader (and future president Lyndon Johnson) led the fight against the protection provisions in the bill. The bill passed less than 2 hours after Thurmond ends his filibuster. Every Republican voted for the bill, while nearly 40 percent of Democrats voted against it. Thurmond died in 2003 at age 100.
1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. Listen to the entire speech.
1981 – The National Centers for Disease Control announces a high incidence of Pneumocystis and Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men. Both diseases were later linked to HIV and AIDS.
2014 – Google announces Project Wing, aimed at delivering products across a city using unmanned flying vehicles (drones). Wing has delivered over 3000,000 packages to the U.S., Europe, and Australia since 2021. Watch the Project Wing test flight video.
1758 – The New Jersey Legislature forms the first Indian reservation in the U.S. for the Lenni-Lenape Indians in Burlington County.
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.
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 aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss wins the world’s first air race in his airplane “The June Bug.” The race was held in Rheims, France, over a 20-kilometer course. Curtiss flew the course at 46.5 miles per hour in less than 16 minutes. Curtiss died in 1930 at age 52 from complications following an appendectomy.
1958 – The Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
1966 – The Beatles perform their last public concert. They performed at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Their first public concert in the U.S. was February 1964 in Washington, DC.
2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a Category 3 hurricane devastating much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida Panhandle, killing 1,833 people and causing over $115 billion in damage. Watch a brief day-by-day report.
2007 – An Air Force nuclear weapons incident takes place at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base when nuclear warheads are not removed before the missiles were transported.
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 was defeated only three times in 68 bouts. He died of TB in 1895 at the age of 32.
1963 – A hotline communications link begins between the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. and the Kremlin in Moscow.
1983 – The First Miss Teen USA pageant is held. It is an annual event for girls aged 14-19. Watch the first crowning ceremony.
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.
1997 – In the first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Championship game the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty. There are currently 12 teams, six in the Eastern Conference and six in the Western.
2015 – Rap artist Kanye West announces at the MTV Video Music Awards that he will run for President in 2020. He tweeted in July that he may postpone his 2024 presidential bid, but later deleted it. West was married to Kim Kardashian for seven years before they divorced in 2021. The have four children.
1910 – President Theodore Roosevelt makes a speech in Kansas advocating a “square deal” in which property shall be “the servant and not the master of the commonwealth.”
1920 – John Lloyd Wright is issued a patent for “Toy-Cabin Construction,” which are better known as Lincoln Logs. His father was renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Watch the history of Lincoln Logs and John Lloyd Wright.
1955 – William Cobb of General Motors demonstrates the first sun-powered automobile, the 15-inch-long “Sun Mobile,” at the GM Powerama in Chicago, Illinois.
1964 – California officially becomes (and remains) the most populous state in America. California has a current population of almost 40 million people, while Wyoming has the least with less than 600,000 people.
1978 – Emily and William Harris (of the Symbionese Liberation Army) plead guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. The Harris’ were released from prison in 1983. They were never charged with the murder of Myrna Opsahl, whom they shot during the bank robbery, until 2002. They, and two others, were convicted of Opsahl’s murder in 2003 and sentenced from 6 to 8 years. Patty Hearst had served only 22 months in jail for the bank robbery when Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence. Hearst is now 69 years old.
2012 – Apple Computers loses its patent dispute with Samsung of Tokyo, Japan. It was one of many patent infringement rulings from cases filed in courts around the world starting in 2011. It wasn’t until the middle of 2018 that the patent dispute trials were resolved in favor of Apple.
1752 – The Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia from France. The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the Bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania’s original Constitution. The cause of the bell’s famous crack is unknown.
1807 – Former Vice President Aaron Burr is found innocent of treason. He was accused of leading a cabal whose goal was to create an independent country in present day Texas. President Thomas Jefferson, then in his second term, ordered Burr arrested. In the election of 1800, Jefferson and Burr tied in the number of electoral votes. The tie was broken by a vote in the House of Representatives due to the influence of Alexander Hamilton. Burr served as Jefferson’s vice president. Vice President Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in 1804.
1897 – The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.
1914 – The passenger pigeon becomes extinct when a female pigeon named Martha dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo. The passenger pigeon was once the most common bird in the U.S., numbering in the billions. Its demise is the result of overhunting, habitat loss, and disease. A Smithsonian taxidermist mounts Martha’s skin and she is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
1942 – A Federal judge upholds the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
1979 – A Los Angeles Court orders that actor Clayton Moore stop wearing the Lone Ranger mask in public appearances after Jack Wrather, who owned the rights to the character, filed a restraining order. Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) changed his mask slightly and in 1985 won the right to wear his mask. Moore, who started his career as a child circus star, died in 1999 at age 85.
1985 – A U.S.-French expedition led by Robert Ballard locates the wreckage of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland. On this date in 1998, the movie “Titanic” went on sale in the U.S.
1995 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame building, designed by I. M. Pei, opens in Cleveland, Ohio. The foundation was established in 1983. Cleveland is the home of Alan Freed, the disc jockey credited with coining the term “rock and roll.” Take a virtual tour of the museum.
2005 – Seven members and former members of the AFL-CIO form a new trade unions organization called the Change to Win Federation as an alternative to the AFL-CIO. Its president is James P. Hoffa, son of the late Jimmy Hoffa.
1789 – Congress establishes the U.S. Treasury Department.
1919 – The Communist Party of America organizes in Chicago, Illinois, as a result of a split in the Socialist Party of America. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation outlawing the Communist Party in the U.S. Its current membership is estimated to be around 5,000 people.
1945 – V-J Day (Victory in Japan) is when World War II ends after the formal surrender of Japan aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
1963 – Gov. George C. Wallace (D-AL) prevents the integration of Tuskegee High School by shutting down the school. In June 1963, Governor Wallace blocked the entrance to the University of Alabama as a symbolic attempt to keep his campaign promise, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Watch his speech.
1969 – The first automatic teller machine (ATM) in the U.S. is installed in Rockville Center, New York.
1987 – Donald Trump spends almost $100,000 on a full page New York Times ad criticizing the U.S. trade policies with countries like Japan.
1992 – The U.S. and Russia agree to a joint venture to build a space station. The first module was launched in 1998. The first crew arrived in 2000. By 2011, 159 components had been added. The ISS has an estimated cost of $150 billion.
1752 – The United Kingdom and its American colonies (now the U.S.) adopt the Gregorian calendar and September 3rd becomes September 14th. Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and the change took effect in most Catholic states.
1783 – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the U.S. Revolutionary War of Independence.
1895 – The first professional football game is played. Quarterback John Brallier was paid $10 per game plus expenses. His team Latrobe won that first game 12-0 over Jeannette in Indiana.
1925 – The dirigible “USS Shenandoah” crashes during a storm near Caldwell Ohio, killing all 14 passengers and crew on board. It was its 57th flight. Watch the crash (no sound).
1929 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its all-time high of 381.17, shortly before the Crash of 1929.
1954 – The Espionage and sabotage Act of 1954 is signed, broadening what constitutes “war material” and “national defense material,” in response to growing tensions during the Cold War.
1995 – eBay is founded by Pierre Omidyar, the French-born, American-educated son of Iranian immigrants. eBay was originally called “Auction Web.”
2019 – Walmart announces it will stop selling handguns and certain kinds of ammunition in response to the shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed 23 people and wounded 23 others. They also asked customers not to carry weapons into their stores. Walmart now sells guns and ammunition in about half of 4,700 stores.
Image from: abcnews.go.com