This Week In History, July 28 – August 3, 2014


This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of July 28-August 3, 2014

July 28

1868 – The 14th Amendment is ratified, granting citizenship to ex-slaves.

1900 – Louis Lassing of New Haven, Connecticut, says his diner is the first to put a hamburger on a bun. (He is one of many who make this claim.)

1932 – Two unemployed WWI veterans are killed in a scuffle with police in Washington, DC, during the “Bonus March.” President Hoover calls in federal troops when thousands of “Bonus Marchers” demand the government cash in their bonuses early. They clash with the troops led by General Douglass MacArthur and supported by Major George S. Patton.

1933 – Lucille Lipps, a Western Union operator in New York City, delivers the first singing telegram to Rudy Vallee on his birthday.

1959 – Hawaii’s first U.S. election sends its first Asian Americans to Congress.

1983 – Four days after the “pine tar bat” game American League baseball president Lee McPhail announces that even though George Brett’s bat had too much pine tar, only the bat should have been removed from the game, not the batter. He upholds the Kansas City Royals’ protest and says the two teams must resume the game in Yankee Stadium on August 18, with the Royals leading New York, 5-4, and two outs in the ninth. The Royals win the game.

1986 – NASA releases the audio from the doomed Challenger. Pilot Michael Smith can be heard saying, “Uh-oh!” as Space Shuttle disintegrated on liftoff.


July 29

1858 – The Treaty of Amity and Commerce/Harris Treaty is signed between the U.S. and Japan opening Japanese ports to trade.

1899 – The first motorcycle race is held at Manhattan Beach, New York.

1920 – The first of three JL-6 aircraft leave New York for San Francisco on the inaugural transcontinental airmail flight. Former WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker is one of the passengers.

1928 – Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” (Mickey Mouse) is released.


1958 – President Eisenhower signs into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA).

1976 – Liz Taylor and Richard Burton divorce for the second time. They divorce for the first time in 1974.


1988 – A judge orders NASA to release the 2-minutes of unedited tape from the Challenger cockpit after the Space Shuttle explodes on takeoff on January 28th.

1990 – The Boston Red Sox set the major league baseball record with 12 doubles in a single game.


July 30

1733 – Eighteen men gather at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern on King Street in Boston and organize the first Masonic Lodge in North America.

1839 – Slaves take over the slave ship Amistad after 60 days at sea and are arrested in New York. The district court judge ruled that the slaves are free men, and orders them released from prison. He also orders that the United States government transport them back to Africa. The Supreme Court upholds the decision.

1898 – Will Kellogg invents the cereal Corn Flakes.


1909 – The Wright Brothers deliver the first military plane to the army after meeting strict criteria and are paid $30,000.

1928 – George Eastman shows the first Kodacolor 16-mm color film to friends, including Thomas Edison and General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, at his home in Rochester, New York.

1942 – President FDR signs a bill creating the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).

1975 – Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa disappears in suburban Detroit. His body is never found.

1988 – Harry Drake of Kansas shoots an arrow a record 2,028 yards. He is an early pioneer in the design of the composite bow. Drake died in 1997 at age 82.



July 31

1792 – The cornerstone is laid for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, the first United States government building.

1876 – The United States Coast Guard officers’ training school is established in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

1922 – Eighteen-year-old Ralph Samuelson rides world’s first water skis in Minnesota.

1953 – The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is created during the Eisenhower administration. President Harding proposes a department of education and welfare in 1923.

1970 – Chet Huntley retires from NBC, ending the “Huntley-Brinkley Report.” Huntley died in 1974 at age 62. Goodnight, Chet.


1987 – Rockwell International is awarded a contract to build a fifth space shuttle, the Endeavor, to replace the Challenger. Final estimated cost: $1.7 billion.

1991 – The U.S. Senate votes to allow women to fly combat aircraft. Air Force Colonel Martha McSally is the first woman to fly a combat mission after the 43-year ban is lifted.



August 1

1790 – The first U.S. census is taken showing a population of 3,939,214, of which 697,624 are slaves. The current U.S. population is about 316 million.

1855 – Castle Clinton in New York City opens as the first U.S. receiving station for immigrants.

1903 – The first coast-to-coast automobile trip (from San Francisco to New York) is completed.

1943 – Navy Lt. John F. Kennedy’s PT-boat 109 sinks near the Solomon Islands. The crew swims to Naru Island and is rescued on August 7th.

1957 – The Bridgers and Paxton Office Building in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the first commercial building to be heated by solar energy. It is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


1958 – The first class postage goes up to 4 cents after having cost 3 cents for 26 years. A first class postage stamp in 2014 is now 49 cents.

1972 – Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward publish their first article exposing the Watergate scandal.


1977 – Francis Gary Powers dies when his news helicopter crashes in Los Angeles. Powers is the former U-2 pilot who is shot down over Russia in 1960 and held for two years.

2001 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has a Ten Commandments monument installed in the judiciary building, leading to a lawsuit to have the monument removed and him removed from office. District Court Judge Myron Thompson orders Moore to remove the Ten Commandments from the courthouse rotunda within fifteen days. Moore refuses, but the monument is later moved to a room that is not open for public viewing. On August 23, 2003, a panel of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously votes to remove Judge Moore from the bench.


August 2

1610 – Henry Hudson enters bay later named after him, the Hudson Bay.

1819 – The first parachute jump in United States takes place in New York when Mr. Guilles jumps from a hot air balloon and travels airborne for half an hour over about eight miles before successfully landing in Bushwick.

1865 – Lewis Carroll publishes “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

1873 – A San Francisco cable car travels on Clay Street between Kearny and Jones Streets during its first trial run. Cable cars still traverse the streets of San Francisco.


1921 – A Chicago jury brings back a not guilty verdict against eight Chicago White Sox players for throwing the 1919 baseball World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds win the series 5 games to 3. The trial is dubbed the “Black Sox Scandal.”

1989 – NASA confirms Voyager 2’s discovery of three more moons of Neptune.

1994 – Congressional hearings begin on Clinton Whitewater scandal. In 1978 in Arkansas, Bill and Hillary enter into a land deal with James and Susan McDougal. As a result of the investigation, James is convicted of 18 counts of fraud, sentenced to five years in prison, and dies in prison in 1998. Susan is convicted of fraud and sentenced to two years in prison. Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker is convicted of mail fraud but serves no jail time. Vince Foster, friend of the Clinton’s and White House Counsel, committed suicide in 1993. Bill and Hillary implicated in the scandal, but avoid charges of wrongdoing.



August 3

1900 – Harvey Firestone starts the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio.

1921 – Baseball Commissioner Judge “Kenesaw Mountain” Landis announces that he will banish from baseball for life the eight White Sox players involved in the 1919 World Series scandal, despite their acquittal, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.


1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes our 30th president after the sudden and unexpected death of President Warren Harding following an apparent heart attack.

1949 – The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merge to form National Basketball Association (NBA).

1981 – The 13,000 PATCO Union air traffic controllers begin their illegal strike. President Reagan fires them on August 5th.

2004 – The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopens after being closed since the September 11, 2001, attacks. It opens again on July 4, 2013, after being closed for damages sustained when Hurricane Sandy struck in October of 2012.