This Week in History: Jan 23-29, 2023

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins

Jan 23-29, 2023




January 23

1855 – The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bridge today is called the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.

1862 – Agoston Haraszthy, the first vintner in Sonoma Valley, California, imports 10,000 grapevine cuttings. He introduced more than 300 varieties of European grapes. Haraszthy, a Hungarian immigrant, is called the “Father of Modern Winemaking in California.” He had previously started the second oldest winery in the U.S. in Wisconsin.

1930 – The George Washington Birthplace National Monument is established in Colonial Beach, Virginia.

1968 – The spy ship USS Pueblo and its 83-man crew are seized in Sea of Japan by North Korea. The crew was released 11 months later, but the ship still remains in North Korea. Watch a video by the Council on Foreign Relations.



1986 – The first inductees into Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame are Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, “Fats” Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who died in 2022 at age 87.

1993 – New York Newsday reports that Oregon’s Senator Bob Packwood sexually harassed 23 women. Packwood announced his resignation from the Senate on September 7, 1995, after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled from the Senate for ethical misconduct.

2002 – Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. He was subsequently murdered by Al-Quaeda terrorists on live TV. A British national of Pakistani origin was sentenced to death by hanging in Pakistan for the murder.

2013 – The U.S. armed forces overturn a 1994 ban on women serving in combat.

2019 – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi disinvited President Donald Trump from making the State of the Union Address in Congress.


January 24

1848 – James Marshall finds gold in Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California, starting the gold rush.

1922 – Christian K. Nelson gets the patent for the Eskimo Pie, a chocolate covered ice cream bar. It was originally called the “I Scream Bar.” Woke culture extremists coerced Eskimo Pie’s to be renamed Edy’s Pie in 2021.

1935 – The Krueger Brewing Company sells the first canned beer, “Krueger Cream Ale.” Beer had previously only been sold in bottles.

1964 – The 24th Amendment to the Constitution goes into effect. It states that voting rights cannot be denied due to failure to pay taxes.

1984 – Apple Computer Inc. unveils its revolutionary Macintosh personal computer. Watch Apple’s first Mac commercial.



1989 – Confessed serial killer Ted Bundy is put to death in Florida’s electric chair for the 1978 kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. He murdered more than 25 girls and young women between 1974 and 1978.

2003 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.

2017 – President Trump withdraws the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).


January 25

1851 – Sojourner Truth addresses the first Black Women’s Rights Convention, held in Akron, Ohio.

1890 – Nellie Bly beats the fictional Phileas Fogg’s time around world by 8 days. American-born Bly traveled around the world mostly by ship and rail, completing the trip alone in just over 72 days. Bly died in 1922 at age 57.

1907 – Julia Ward Howe, who penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” is the first woman elected to National Institute of Arts & Letters.

1937 – The first broadcast of “Guiding Light” airs on NBC radio. It premiered on TV in 1952 and aired until 2009. It is still the longest running soap opera ever. General Hospital is the longest-running soap opera still in production with 59 seasons.

1949 – The first television Emmy Awards ceremony is aired. Ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale and the popular TV show “Pantomime Quiz” won the first Emmy awards.

1971 – Charles Manson and three women followers are convicted of the seven Tate-LaBianca murders. He was sentenced to death but his sentence was changed to life in prison when the death penalty was abolished. He was repeatedly denied parole. Manson died in 2017 at age 83.

1981 – The 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived back in the U.S. Watch their emotional return.



1996 – Billy Bailey is the last person to be executed by hanging in the U.S. He was convicted of a double murder. Bailey chose to be executed by hanging instead of lethal injection.

2004 – The Mars Exploration Rover “Opportunity” lands on surface of Mars. The 3-month mission lasted 14 years longer than its operating plan, gathering scientific observations and sending reports to Earth. Communication was lost in 2018 after a severe dust storm. Opportunity traveled 28 miles over the surface of Mars.

2017 – The Dow Jones closes above 20,000 for the first time, just 5 days after Donald Trump is inaugurated as president. It was at almost 31,000 when Trump left office. The Dow dropped below 29,000 during the Biden Administration.


January 26

1784 – Ben Franklin expresses unhappiness over the eagle as America’s symbol. It was said he preferred the turkey.

1913 – Jim Thorpe relinquishes his 1912 Olympic medals for playing semi-professional baseball. His medals were posthumously returned on January 18, 1983. Thorpe died in 1953 at age 64.

1931 – “Cimarron” premieres in New York and is the first western to win Best Outstanding Production/Picture. It was directed by Wesley Ruggles and starred Richard Dix and Irene Dunne.

1948 – President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces.

1954 – Groundbreaking begins on Disneyland in California. The theme park opened on July 17, 1955. Walt Disney was introduced at the opening ceremony by the future California governor and future president Ronald Reagan. Watch Reagan open Disneyland.



1961 – Dr. Janet G. Travell becomes the first woman “personal physician to the president.” She was President Kennedy’s physician. Travell died in 1997 at the age of 95.

1988 – “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber makes its U.S. debut at the Majestic Theater in New York City. It is the longest running show in Broadway history, playing more than 13,877 performances in 37 years.

2009 – The U.S. Senate confirms President Obama’s nominee Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury in spite of the fact that Geithner failed to pay $35,000 in taxes.

2009 – In Houston, Texas, 27-year-old Nadya Suleman gives birth to the only known living set of octuplets. She already had six children, all conceived by In Vitro Fertilization.


January 27

1825 – Congress approves a plan by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun for an Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. This cleared the way for the forced relocation of the Eastern Indians through the Indian Removal Act of 1830 during what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

1888 – The National Geographic Society is organized in Washington, DC. Alexander Graham Bell served as the second president.

1918 – “Tarzan of the Apes,” the first Tarzan film, premieres in New York City. Tarzan was a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a 1912 novel. Tarzan was first played by Elmo Lincoln. Of the 24 actors who portrayed Tarzan, the most well-known was 5-time Olympic gold medal winner (swimming) Johnny Weissmuller.

1927 – United Independent Broadcasters Inc. starts a radio network with 16 stations. The company later became Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

1951 – The U.S. conducts the first nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The mushroom-shaped cloud could be seen from Las Vegas. A total of 928 nuclear tests were conducted there between 1951 and 1992, of which 100 were above ground.

1967 – Astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee die when a flash fire engulfs their Apollo 1 command capsule during testing. They were the first astronauts to die in the line of duty.

1973 – The United States and Vietnam sign the Paris Peace Accord initiating a cease-fire. Negotiations began in 1968. The Vietnam War did not officially end until May 1975.

1998 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on NBC’s “Today” show with charges that the allegations against her husband are the work of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” President Clinton was impeached December 1998. Watch her claim.



2010 – Steve Jobs unveils the Apple iPad. Jobs died in 2011 at age 56.


January 28

1878 – George W. Coy is hired in New Haven, Connecticut, as the first full-time telephone operator at the first telephone exchange.

1915 – The Coast Guard is created by an act of Congress to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.

1956 – Elvis Presley makes his first TV appearance. He performed on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.



1985 – USA For Africa records the song “We are the World.” The song is written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones. It sold more than 20 million copies. Watch the official star-studded video.



1986 – The Challenger, on the 25th Space Shuttle mission, explodes 73 seconds after liftoff. All crewmembers were lost. The space shuttle program was halted for 32 months. The first space shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster was the Discovery in September of 1988.

1990 – The San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV. It was the most lopsided game in Super Bowl history.

2013 – John Kerry succeeds Hillary Rodham Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State. The current Secretary of State is Anthony Blinken.


January 29

1845 – Edgar Allen Poe’s narrative poem “The Raven” is first published once upon a midnight dreary. Poe died mysteriously in 1849 at the age of 40.

1879 – The Custer Battlefield National Monument in Montana is established. Lakota, Sioux, and Cheyenne warriors killed Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and over 200 troops of his 7th Cavalry troops on June 25, 1876 near the Little Bighorn River.

1936 – Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson are the first players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Watch actual footage of the 1939 opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame.



1944 – The USS Missouri is launched. It was the last battleship commissioned by the Navy. The Japanese surrender took place on the deck of the Missouri that August. Decommissioned in 1992, the Missouri is now a museum ship at Pearl Harbor. Scenes from the 2012 movie “Battleship” were filmed on the USS Missouri.

1975 – The first American Annual Comedy Awards is held and lasted two years. It was hosted by Alan King, who founded the American Academy of Humor. The American Comedy Awards began on Comedy Central in 1987 and lasted until 2001. NBC revived the awards ceremony in 2014. The award statue was renamed “The Lucy” starting in 1989 after the death of Lucille Ball.

1995 – The San Francisco 49ers become the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to win five Super Bowl titles when they defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots now hold the record with six Super Bowl wins each.

2002 – In his State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush describes the “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil, which includes Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Listen to his chillingly accurate prediction.





Image from: Time


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