This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann
“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”
– Ronald Reagan
Week of July 11-17, 2016
1798 – President John Adams signs the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy.
1804 – Vice President Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel near Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr is indicted for murder, but the charges are later dropped. Burr and Hamilton had been bitter political and personal rivals for years.
1914 – Babe Ruth debuts as a pitcher for Boston Red Sox and he beats Cleveland 4-3.
1918 – Enrico Caruso records George M. Cohan’s song “Over There.” Listen to Caruso as you watch WWI images:
1934 – FDR becomes the first president to travel through the Panama Canal.
1944 – Franklin Roosevelt announces that he will run for a fourth term as President of the United States. He is re-elected, but dies in office in 1945 at the age of 63. Congress passes the 22nd Amendment in 1947 limiting a president to two terms in office.
1967 – Singer Kenny Rogers forms the group The First Edition and they release their first album later that year.
1967 – In the longest baseball All-Star Game to date the National League beats the Amerian League 2-1 in 15 innings at Anaheim Stadium in California. Also, all the runs scored are home runs.
1973 – John Paul Getty III, 16-year-old heir to the Getty oil fortune, is kidnapped in Italy and held for $17 million ransom. When his father refuses to pay, the kidnappers cut off the teenager’s ear and send it in the mail. Getty agrees to pay part of the ransom and makes a loan to his son for the remainder. Getty is freed in December. Two of the nine kidnappers are sentenced to prison. Getty III overdoses on drugs on 1981 and is paralyzed. He died in 2011 at age 54 after a long illness.
1977 – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
1979 – The abandoned U.S. space station Skylab returns to Earth. It burns up in the atmosphere and showers debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
1981 – Neva Rockefeller is the first woman ordered to pay alimony to her husband. She is the great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller.
1984 – The U.S. government orders air bags to be required in all cars by 1989.
1987 – Bo Jackson signs a contract to play football for the L.A. Raiders for 5 years. He also continues to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals. He is the only athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports. Bo is now 53 years old.
1999 – A U.S. Air Force jet flys over the Antarctic and drops off emergency medical supplies for Dr. Jerri Nielsen at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Center after she discovered a lump in her breast. Nielsen performs a biopsy on herself and then treats herself with chemotherapy using supplies parachuted by the Air Force the following month. Nielsen died of cancer in 2009 at age 57. Watch a short AP report on her life and death:
2001 – Iraq resumes oil exports, ending their 5-week halt in protest of a U.S. and British-sponsored UN Security Council resolution.
2012 – NASA’s Hubble telescope discovers S/2012 P 1, the fifth moon of Pluto.
1630 – New Amsterdam’s governor buys Gull Island from the Indians for cargo and renames it Oyster Island. It is later known as Ellis Island.
1774 – Citizens of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, pass a declaration of independence.
1862 – Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor. A total of 3,471 medals have been awarded to service men and women.
1909 – The resolution proposing the 16th Amendment (income tax) is passed by the 61st Congress and submitted to the state legislatures. The resolution reads simply “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” The 16th Amendment is voted on by each state legislature and subsequently ratified on February 3, 1913.
1912 – “Queen Elizabeth” is the first foreign feature film shown in U.S. Watch a portion of the silent film:
1933 – Congress passes the first minimum wage law (25 cents per hour) as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The Supreme Court rules the act unconstitutional in 1935.
1946 – “The Adventures of Sam Spade” debuts on ABC radio.
1957 – Dwight Eisenhower is the first President to fly in a helicopter.
1978 – The U.S. performs a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site. Underground testing of weapons continues until September of 1992.
1982 – The last of the distinctive-looking Checker taxi cabs rolls off the assembly line in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
1984 – U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-NY) is chosen by Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate. Ferraro becomes the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. Ferraro died in 2011 at age 75. Watch part of her acceptance speech:
1996 – Michael Jordan signs a National Basketball Association contract for 1 year for $25 million. Jordan is now 53 years old.
2009 – All television broadcasts in the U.S. switch from analog NTSC to digital ATSC transmission.
1787 – The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 establishes a government in the Northwest Territory. It allows the territory to become at least 3 but no more than 5 states and each would be admitted to the Union when the population reaches 60,000.
1832 – Henry R. Schoolcraft discovers the source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca, Minnesota.
1836 – U.S. patent #1 is issued for locomotive wheels (after 9,957 unnumbered patents were issued!). Patent #8,000,000 (8 million!) is issued in 2011.
1865 – Horace Greeley, who favors westward expansion, advises his readers to “Go west young man” in a New York Tribune editorial. The actual quote is, ”Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”
1865 – P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in lower Manhattan burns down. The loss of the museum and the nine other buildings that are destroyed is estimated at $1 million.
1923 – The Hollywood sign is officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles. The sign originally reads “Hollywoodland,” but the last four letters are dropped after renovation in 1949.
1939 – Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut singing “High Hopes” with the Harry James Band. Watch this black and white video of Sinatra singing “High Hopes” with a group of kids:
1954 – The United States, Great Britain, and France reach an accord regarding Indochina, which divides Vietnam into two countries, North and South, along the 17th parallel.
1976 – The trial begins in the USSR for Valery Sablin for his 1975 mutiny on the Soviet submarine the Sentry. The true story of the mutiny is made into the 1990 American movie “The Hunt for Red October” based on Tom Clancy’s 1984 book. Sablin is convicted and executed by order of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Sablin is buried in an unmarked – and unknown – grave.
1978 – Lee Iacocca is fired as Ford Motor President by chairman Henry Ford II. The following year, Iacocca is hired as president of the Chrysler Corporation.
1984 – Terry Wallis is injured in a car accident and left comatose. He comes out of the coma in June of 2003 and is still disabled. Wallis is now 52 years old.
1985 – The “Live Aid” concert raises over $70 million for African famine relief during a live concert from Philadelphia and London. Watch an interview with organizer Bob Geldof:
2000 – The U.S. and Vietnam sign a bi-lateral trade agreement.
1798 – The Sedition Act prohibits public opposition to the government through “false, scandalous, and malicious” writing against the U.S. government in response to foreign threats.
1853 – President Franklin Pierce opens the first U.S. World’s fair at New York’s Crystal Palace. The Palace is destroyed in 1858 by a fire that started in an adjacent lumberyard.
1914 – Dr. Robert Goddard is granted the first patent for liquid-fueled rocket design.
1921 – Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murdering a shoe company’s guard and paymaster during an armed robbery. Italian-born anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed in the electric chair in August 1927 at ages 36 and 39 respectively. After requesting a review of the case, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis issues a proclamation on the 50th anniversary of the their execution that Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfailrly tried and convicted.
1934 – The New York Times erroneously declares that Babe Ruth’s 700 home run record will stand for all time. Hank Aaron breaks Ruth’s record in 1973 (755 total home runs) and Barry Bonds breaks Ruth’s record in 2006 (762 total home runs).
1946 – Pediatrician Dr. Ben Spock publishes “Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.”
1951 – Triple Crown champion Citation (1948) runs his final race, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup, making him the first horse to earn over $1,000,000 in winnings. Citation is inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1959 and dies in 1970 at the age of 25.
1952 – The first transatlantic helicopter flight begins when two U.S. Air Force Sikorsky H-19s travel from the U.S. to Wiesbaden, Germany. The total flight time is about 52 hours, but because of stops in Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and the Netherlands the trip takes 21 days.
1953 – The George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri, becomes the first national park to honor an African American.
1965 – American space probe Mariner 4 flies within 6,118 miles of Mars after an eight-month journey. This mission provides the first close-up images of the red planet. The mission launches November 28, 1964.
1968 – Commercial air travel begins between the U.S. and USSR.
1985 – The last U.S. Football League game is played. The Baltimore Stars defeat the Oakland Invaders 28-24. The league begins in 1983.
1986 – Richard W. Miller becomes the first FBI agent convicted of espionage. After 3 trials Miller is convicted in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years, which a judge reduces to 13 years. Miller is released in 1994 and is now 79 years old.
2008 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 10 million applications downloaded. The following year the number of applications downloaded reaches 1.5 billion.
2015 – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sends back the first pictures of Pluto.
1789 – The Marquis de Lafayette (Marie Joseph Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier) is named colonel-general of the new National Guard of Paris. During the Revolutionary War, Congress commissions Lafayette a Major General in the Continental Army. He assists George Washington in winning the war and they become life-long friends.
1830 – Indian tribes (Sioux, Sauk, and Fox) sign the fourth Treaty of Prairie du Chien giving the U.S. most of Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) represents the U.S. at the signing.
1870 – Georgia becomes the last confederate state to be readmitted to U.S. after the Civil War ends in 1865.
1870 – Hudson’s Bay and the Northwest Territories are transferred to Canada.
1876 – St. Louis Brown Stockings’ pitcher George W. Bradley throws baseball’s first major league no-hitter against the Hartford Dark Blues.
1916 – William Boeing forms the Boeing Company (Pacific Aero) in Seattle, Washington.
1922 – The first duck-billed platypus publicly exhibited in the U.S. at New York Zoo.
1933 – Wiley Post begins his first solo flight around world. The flight takes 7 days, 18 hours. He is killed, along with his friend Will Rogers, when their plane crashes in Alaska on August 15, 1935.
1954 – The Boeing 707 becomes the first commercial jet transport plane tested in the U.S. The prototype, nicknamed “Dash 80,” serves as a flying lab until it is given to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in 1972. Boeing goes on to build more than 14,000 jetliners. Watch actual test flight footage with commentary from the test pilot:
1975 – The last flight of the Saturn 1B rocket launches from Cape Kennedy.
1975 – The U.S.S.R.’s Soyuz 19 and NASA’s Apollo 18 launch and rendezvous in space two days later.
1976 – Brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld and their friend Frederick Woods kidnap 26 school children and their bus driver Frank Ray in Chowchilla, California. They hide the bus in a quarry and demand $5 million ransom, but the bus driver helps the students escape. All three kidnappers plead guilty and are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is changed to life with the possibility of parole. All three men are still in prison. Frank Ray died in 2012 at age 91.
1980 – Johnny Bench hits his 314th home run as a catcher, breaking Yogi Berra’s record.
1991 – U.S. troops leave northern Iraq after Desert Storm.
2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and to possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.
2003 – AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape Communications Corporation and establishes Mozilla Foundation on the same day.
2006 – The social networking service Twitter is launched.
1769 – Father Junipero Serra founds Mission San Diego, the first mission in California.
1790 – U.S. Congress establishes the District of Columbia, initially known as “The Federal City.” The nation’s capital moves from Philadelphia to Washington, DC in 1800.
1862 – David Farragut is the first Rear Admiral in U.S. Navy.
1909 – Detroit and Washington play the longest scoreless baseball game in American League history (18 innings).
1926 – The first underwater color photographs appear in “National Geographic” magazine. The pictures had been taken near the Florida Keys.
1935 – The first automatic parking meter in the U.S. is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
1941 – Joe DiMaggio hits in his 56th straight game with the American League New York Yankees. The streak ends the next day in Cleveland, but Joe goes on to hit in the next 18 consecutive games. Willie Keeler of Baltimore holds the National League record with 45 consecutive hits during the 1896-97 season. Watch still photos as Dimaggio talks about his hitting streak:
1945 – The U.S. detonates the first atomic bomb in a test at Alamogordo, New Mexico.
1951 – J.D. Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye” is published.
1957 – Marine Major John Glenn sets the transcontinental speed record in an F8U-1P Crusader. Glenn sets another record when he becomes the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 in Friendship 7 and the oldest person in space in 1998 at age 77 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Glenn is now 94 years old.
1969 – Apollo 11 launches carrying Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin on the mission to land on the moon.
1988 – Florence Griffith Joyner sets the 100-meter women’s world record at 10.49 seconds during the Olympic time trials in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is considered the fastest woman of all time because her record for the 100-meter and 200-meter has never been beat. Flo-Jo died in 1998 at age 38. Watch the fastest woman ever:
1990 – The Empire State Building in New York City catches fire on the 51st floor of the building. There are no fatalities, but 38 people are injured.
1999 – John F. Kennedy, Jr. (piloting a Piper Saratoga), his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette are killed in a plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
2015 – A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born Muslim terrorist shoots and kills 5 American soliders at a Chattanooga, Tennessee, naval reserve training center. The soldiers return fire to help others escape. The terrorist is shot to death by police. His father was on the terrorist watch list.
1775 – The first U.S. military hospital (medical department) is approved in Massachusetts with a Director-General (chief physician of the Hospital), four surgeons, an apothecary (pharmacist), and nurses (usually wives or widows of military personnel). The pay for the surgeons and the pharmacist is $1.66 a day and nurses $2 a month.
1821 – Spain cedes Florida to the United States.
1856 – The Great Train Wreck of 1856 between Camp Hill and Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, kills over 60 people when two trains traveling on the same track in opposite directions collide.
1938 – Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan leaves New York for Los Angeles in his modified Curtiss Robin and ends up in Ireland. He is denied permission to fly across the Atlantic and claims his trans-Atlantic flight is due to a navigation error. The New York Post prints its headline backwards. Watch a 50th anniversary news report with Corrigan:
1941 – The longest hitting streak in baseball history ends when the Cleveland Indians pitchers hold New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio hitless for the first time in 57 games.
1955 – Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California. The Magic Kingdom covers 160 acres and costs $17 million to build. Watch Walt Disney’s brief opening speech:
1955 – Arco, Idaho, becomes the first U.S. city lit by nuclear power. The Experimental Breeder Reactor Number 1 near Arco becomes the first reactor in the U.S. when it goes online in 1951.
1962 – Robert White sets the altitude record of 354,300 feet (over 67 miles) in the X-15.
1962 – The Senate rejects Medicare for the elderly. The Medicare bill passes in 1965.
1972 – The first 2 women begin training as FBI agents at Quantico, Virginia. Former Marine Susan Roley Malone and former nun Joanne Pierce Misko complete the 14-week training. Malone works for 7 years before rejoining the Marines. Misko retires in 1994 after 22 years of service. In 2012 they are honored on the 40th anniversary of their groundbreaking service.
1974 – John Lennon of The Beatles is ordered to leave the U.S. in 60 days for his 1968 drug possession conviction in England.
1975 – An Apollo spacecraft docks with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit. It is the first link up between the U.S. and Soviet Union in space.
1980 – Ronald Reagan formally accepts the Republican nomination for president.
1986 – The largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history takes place when LTV Corporation (Ling-Temco-Vought) asks for court protection from more than 20,000 creditors with its debts in excess of $4 billion.
1995 – Forbes Magazine announces that Bill Gates is the richest man in world ($12.9 billion). Bill Gates still tops the list with $76 billion.
1996 – Paris-bound TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, explodes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing all 230 on board.
1997 – After 117 years in business, the Woolworth Corp. closes the last of its 400 stores.
2005 – Tiger Woods wins his 10th major golf tournament by winning The British Open Championship by 5 strokes. Woods becomes only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to win each major more than once.