This Week in History, August 31-September 6, 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 31-September 6, 2015


August 31

1842 – The U.S. Naval Observatory is authorized by an act of Congress and is built in Washington, DC.

1886 – The first major earthquake recorded in eastern U.S. hits Charleston, South Carolina, and kills 110 people.

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 known as Lincoln Logs. (U.S. patent 1,351,086)


1935 – The first national skeet shooting championship is held in Indianapolis.

1935 – President FDR signs an act prohibiting export of U.S. arms to “belligerents.”

1940 – The U.S. National Guard assembles.

1940 – Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh are married. Their wedding is postponed because Leigh is filming the movie “Gone With The Wind.”

1941 – The Great Gildersleeve, a spin-off of Fibber McGee & Molly debuts on TV. Watch an excerpt from the show:

1950 – Gil Hodges of the Brooklyn Dodgers hits four home runs in a single game off of four different pitchers.

1955 – William Cobb of General Motors demonstrates the first sun-powered automobile, the 15-inch-long “Sun Mobile,” in Chicago, Illinois.


1964 – California officially becomes the most populated state in America.

1965 – Congress creates the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

1971 – Astronaut Dave Scott becomes the first person to drive a car on the Moon.

1978 – Emily and William Harris (of the Symbionese Liberation Army) plead guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. The Harris’ are released from prison in 1983. They are never charged with the murder of Myrna Opsahl, whom they shot during the bank robbery. Patty Hearst serves only 22 months in jail for the bank robbery when Jimmy Carter commutes her sentence.

1981 – The 30-year contract between Milton Berle and NBC-TV expires.

1985 – The Night Stalker suspect who terrorized Southern California is captured in East Los Angeles. Richard Ramirez is convicted of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries and dies in prison in 2013 at age 53.

2012 – Apple Computers loses its patent dispute with Samsung of Tokyo, Japan.


September 1

1752 – The Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia from France. The Pennsylvania Assembly orders 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.

1859 – The first Pullman sleeping car is put in service on the Chicago and Alton Railroad. George M. Pullman and Benjamin C. Field use rebuilt day coaches.

1862 – Federal tax is levied on tobacco for the first time. Taxes are also levied on such items as feathers, telegrams, pianos, yachts, billiard tables, drugs, and whiskey to help pay for the Civil War.

1878 – Emma M. Nutt becomes the first female telephone operator in the U.S. The company is the Telephone Dispatch Company of Boston.

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.


1918 – The baseball season ends due to World War I.

1922 – A New York City law requires all “pool” rooms to change their names to “billards” rooms.

1922 – The first daily news program on the radio, “The Radio Digest,” airs on WBAY radio in New York City.

1923 – The U.S. beats Australia in tennis for its 4th consecutive Davis Cup.

1942 – A Federal judge upholds the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

1949 – “Martin Kane, Private Eye” premiers as the first network TV detective series.


1951 – The U.S., Australia, and New Zealand sign ANZUS treaty.

1962 – The United Nations in New York City announces the Earth’s population has hit 3 billion.

1970 – The last episode of “I Dream of Jeannie” airs on NBC-TV. The show premieres on September 18, 1965. Watch an excerpt from the show:

1972 – Bobby Fischer of the U.S. defeats Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union for the world chess title.

1975 – The TV showGunsmoke” goes off the air. It premieres in 1955.

1979 – A Los Angeles Court orders actor Clayton Moore to stop wearing the Lone Ranger mask in public appearances after Jack Wrather, who owned the rights to the character, files a restraining order. Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) changes his mask slightly and in 1985 wins the right to wear his mask. Moore, who started his career as a child circus star, dies in 1999 at age 85.

1982 – The maximum speedometer reading mandated in U.S. cars is 85 MPH.

1985 – A U.S.-French expedition led by Robert Ballard locates the wreckage of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland.

1995 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, designed by I. M. Pei, opens in Cleveland, Ohio. It is founded in 1983.


1998 – The movie “Titanic” goes on sale in the U.S.

2005 – Seven members and former members of the AFL-CIO form a new trade union organization called the Change to Win Federation.

2006 – Roger Goodell begins his tenure as the National Football League Commissioner.

2012 – A U.S. drone strike kills 5 people in North Waristan, Pakistan.


September 2

1789 – Congress establishes the U.S. Treasury Department.

1897 – The first issue of “McCall’s” magazine is published. The magazine had been known previously as “Queens Magazine” and “Queen of Fashion.”

1901 – Vice President Theodore Roosevelt advises to, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

1902 – “A Trip To The Moon,” the first science fiction film, is released. Watch part of the silent film:

1919 – The Communist Party of America organizes in Chicago, Illinois, as a result of a split in the Socialist Party of America. It now claims about 20,000 members.

1941 – The Academy of Motion Pictures copyrights the Oscar statuette. From the year it was first awarded in 1929 until 1941 the Academy claims common law copyright protection.


1945 – V-J Day (Victory in Japan) is when World War II ends after the formal surrender of Japan aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

1952 – Dr. Floyd J. Lewis is first surgeon to use the deep freeze technique (hypothermia) during open-heart surgery. His 5-year-old patient Jacqueline Johnson survives.

1963 – Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace prevents the integration of Tuskegee High School by shutting down the school.

1969 – The first automatic teller machine (ATM) in the U.S. is installed in Rockville Center, New York.

1986 – Cathy Evelyn Smith is sentenced to 3 years in prison for the death 1982 of comedian/ actor John Belushi. She is convicted of injecting Belushi with a lethal dose of heroin and cocaine and serves 15 months. Smith is now 68 years old. Watch a news report:

1987 – Donald Trump takes out a full page New York Times ad lambasting Japan.

1992 – The U.S. and Russia agree to a joint venture to build a space station.


September 3

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 replaces the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and the change takes effect in most Catholic states.

1783 – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the U.S. Revolutionary War of Independence.

1838 – Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery disguised as a sailor.

1895 – The first professional football game is played. Quarterback John Brallier is paid $10 per game plus expenses. His team Latrobe wins that first game 12-0 over Jeannette in Indiana.

1925 – The dirigible “Shenandoah” crashes near Caldwell Ohio, and 13 passengers die. Watch the crash:

1928 – Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb gets his 4,191st and final career hit.

1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell becomes the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles an hour. He reaches 304.331 MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

1940 – The U.S. gives Britain 50 destroyers in exchange for a Newfoundland base lease.

1954 – The final episode of “The Lone Ranger” is heard on radio after 2,956 episodes over a period of 21 years. Watch Clayton Moore as the The Lone Ranger:

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Wilderness Act into law.

1967 – The last broadcast of “What’s My Line” airs on CBS-TV. The final mystery guest (where the panelists are blindfolded) is John Daly, the host since the show premiered in 1950.

1977 – The last broadcast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” airs on NBC-TV. The show premiered in 1970.

1989 – The U.S. begins shipping military aircraft and weapons, worth $65 million, to Columbia in its fight against drug lords.

1990 – Helen Hudson sings the national anthem in 26th park of year (San Diego).

1995 – eBay is founded by Pierre Omidyar, the French-born, American-educated son of Iranian immigrants. eBay is originally called “Auction Web.”


2013 – Hunters in Mississippi capture a 727-pound alligator.


September 4

1781 – Los Angeles, California, is founded by Spanish settlers. The original name is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula,” which translates as “The Town of the Queen of Angels.”

1813 – The “Religious Remembrancer Christian Observer” is the first religious newspaper published in the U.S. It is started at the Presbyterian Publishing Center of Philadelphia.

1833 – Ten-year-old Barney Flaherty is hired by the New York Sun as the first newsboy in America.

1886 – Apache Chief Geronimo surrenders, ending last major U.S.-Indian war. He dies at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909 at the age of 79.


1888 – George Eastman patents the first roll-film camera and registers the name “Kodak.”

1923 – The USS airship Shenandoah makes her maiden flight at Lakehurst, New Jersey. On September 3, 1925, on its 57th flight, the Shenandoah crashes after it is caught in a storm over Ohio, killing all 14 crewmembers on board.

1933 – J.R. Wendell flies the first airplane to exceed 300 mph over Glenview, Illinois.

1940 – CBS-TV begins broadcasting as station W2XAB.

1950 – For the first time a helicopter is used to rescue an American soldier behind enemy lines. Captain Robert E. Wayne is rescued after his aircraft is shot down over Korea. H-5 helicopter pilot First Lieutenant Paul van Boven is awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.

1950 – Darlington Raceway is the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race.

1951 – The first live, coast-to-coast TV broadcast in the U.S. takes place in San Francisco, California, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference. It is seen all the way to New York City.

1953 – The New York Yankees become the first baseball team to win five consecutive American League championships.

1954 – Peter B. Cortese of the U.S. achieves a one-arm deadlift of 370 pounds, more than triple his body weight, at York, Pennsylvania.


1957 – Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel. The car is named for Edsel P. Ford, son of the founder of Ford Motor Company. The car is in production for only three years.

1957 – The Arkansas National Guard is ordered by Governor Orval Faubus to keep nine black students from going into Little Rock’s Central High School.

1966 – The first Muscular Dystrophy telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis is held over this Labor Day weekend. Jerry Lewis started local and regional MD events in 1952.


1967 – Michigan Gov. George Romney said during a TV interview that he had undergone “brainwashing” by U.S. officials while visiting Vietnam in 1965.

1972 – U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz becomes the first athlete to win 7 Olympic gold medals (in swimming) while competing in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. Michael Phelps holds the record for the most medals won in Olympic history, 22 medals total in 2004 and 2008, also for swimming. Spitz is now 65 years old. Watch a report including interviews with Spitz:

1981 – The longest baseball game played at Fenway Park is completed in 20 innings with the final score of Mariners-8, Red Sox-7. The game started the day before! The longest baseball game for time is 8 hours, 6 minutes on May 8-9, 1984, when the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago White Socks 7-6. Carlton Fisk sets a record by catching in all 25 innings. The longest game in innings is a 1-1 tie game in 1920 between the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Robins that lasts 26 innings. The game is stopped at dusk, restarted the following day, and called again at dusk.

1983 – Greg LeMond becomes the only American to win cycling’s Road Championship.

1998 – Google is incorporated as a privately held company.

1998 – While in Ireland, President Clinton says the words “I’m sorry” for the first time about his affair with Monica Lewinsky and describes his behavior as indefensible.


September 5

1774- The Continental Congress assembles for the first time in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia with 56 delegates from 12 colonies (Georgia is not represented).

1881 – The American Red Cross provides relief for disaster for the first time after the Great Fire of 1881 in Michigan.

1882 – An estimated 10,000 workers march in the first Labor Day parade in New York City.

1885 – The first gasoline pump is delivered to a gasoline dealer in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1906 – Saint Louis University football player Bradbury Robinson makes the first legal forward pass in football to teammate Jack Schneider.

1918 – The 15th World Series begins a month early due to World War I.

1939 – President FDR declares U.S. neutrality at the start of World War II in Europe.

1945 – Iva Toguri D’Aquino is arrested for being the wartime radio propagandist “Tokyo Rose”. She serves six years and is later pardoned by President Gerald Ford. D’Aquino died in 2006 at age 90.


1953 – The first privately operated atomic reactor opens in Raleigh, North Carolina.

1960 – Wilma Rudolph, called the world’s fastest woman, wins her second of three gold medals in track and field at the Olympic games in Rome, Italy. Wilma suffered from polio as a child and overcame numerous childhood health issues and racial barriers to compete in the Olympics. After the 1960 Olympics she becomes a teacher and track coach. Wilma dies of brain cancer in November 1994 at age 54.

1960 – Cassius Clay (later Mohamed Ali) captures the Olympic light heavyweight boxing gold medal in Rome.

1966 – The first Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon ends, raising $15,000. The telethons have since raised over $2 billion in 48 years.

1975 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempts to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. Fromme is sentenced to life in prison and is released on parole in 2009. She is now 66 years old.

1978 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter start a peace conference at Camp David, Maryland. Sadat and Begin share the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.


1983 – The “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) becomes the first hour-long network news TV show.

1991 – The U.S. trial of former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega begins.

2003 – In London, American magician David Blaine enters a clear plastic box and is suspended by a crane over the banks of the Thames River. He remains there until October 19 surviving only on water. Watch a video of his feat:


September 6

1716 – The first lighthouse in the U.S., The Boston Light, is built in Boston, Massachusetts.

1866 – Frederick Douglass is the first black delegate to a national convention in the U.S.

1899 – Carnation evaporated milk (called Carnation Sterilized Cream) is processed for the first time in a plant in Kent, Washington. The company later changes its name to Carnation Milk Company.

1901 – President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He dies 8 days later. Vice President Teddy Roosevelt becomes president.

1909 – Word reaches civilization that Admiral Robert Peary successfully traveled to the North Pole 5 months earlier. The New York Times prints the story on the 7th, but Dr. Frederick A. Cook claims to have reached the pole in April 1908, one year before Peary.

1920 – The first radio broadcast of a prizefight airs.

1946 – The All-American Football Conference (AFC) plays its first game. The final score is Cleveland 44, Miami 0.

1954 – WINS radio in New York City begins playing “rock ‘n roll” music when the Alan Freed Show premiers.

1963 – Major league baseball plays its 100,000th game.

1966 – “Star Trek” premiers on TV and airs for three seasons. There are two highly successful TV spin-offs, and 10 movies from two of the three TV shows.


1975 – Eighteen-year-old Czech tennis star Martina Navratilova asks the U.S. for political asylum in New York City during the US Open. Martina is granted a green card within a month. (She loses the US Open to Chris Evert.)

1978 – James Wickwire and Louis Reichardt are the first Americans to reach the top of the world’s second largest mountain, Pakistan’s K-2.

1986 – Barbra Streisand performs her first live concert in 20 years.

1995 – Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles breaks Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record when he plays in 2,131 consecutive baseball games. Ripken stretches the record to 2,632 consecutive games over his 16-year career. Watch him hoer in the game:

1995 – Bob Packwood resigns from the Senate under threat of expulsion by the Senate Ethics Committee for sexual harassment.

2000 – The U.N. Millennium Summit begins in New York. It is the largest gathering of world leaders in history with more than 150 present.

2002 – Congress convenes at Federal Hall in New York City for a rare special session to express the nation’s mourning for the loss on September 11, 2001, and ezpress unity in the war against terrorism.

Leave a Reply