This Week In History, October 20-26, 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 October 20-26, 2014


October 20

1818 – The 49th parallel forms as the border between the United States and Canada.

1864 – President Lincoln formally establishes Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

1873 – P. T. Barnum’s Hippodrome opens in New York City featuring “The Greatest Show on Earth.” It is destroyed in a fire on December 23, 1873.


1949 – Eugenie Anderson becomes the first woman U.S. ambassador (to Denmark). She died in 1997 at the age of 87.

1957 – Walter Cronkite begins hosting his weekly documentary “The Twentieth Century.” It airs until 1966.

Watch Walter Cronkite in 1967 predicting the office of the future in 2001. The accuracy is stunning:

1967 – Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin film a purported sighting of a Bigfoot.

1968 – Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis.


1973 – President Nixon proclaims Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century.

Jim Thorpe, The world’s greatest athlete and an Indian:

1973 – President Nixon fires Watergate accuser Archibald Cox.

1975 – The Supreme Court rules teachers could spank their pupils after a warning.


1988 – Los Angeles is the first city to have both baseball and basketball championship teams as the LA Dodgers beat the Oakland A’s 4 games to 1 in the World Series. The LA Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3 in the NBA finals in June.

1993 – The highest scoring World Series game is played. The final score is Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14, in the 4 hour and 14 minute game.


October 21

1774 – The first display of the word “Liberty” is on a flag raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts, in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.

1797 – The U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, nicknames Old Ironsides, launches from Boston.

Old Ironsides in 1950:

1918 – Margaret Owen sets the world typing speed record at 170 words per minute. She won four world speed typing championships, including three consecutive titles from 1915-1917.

1959 – The Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in New York City.


1960 – JFK and Richard Nixon clash in their 4th and final presidential debate.

1971 – President Nixon nominates William H. Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell to the U.S. Supreme Court following the resignations of Justices Hugo Black and John Harlan.

1979 – Ozzie Newsome (Cleveland Browns) begins his National Football League streak of catching a pass in 150 consecutive games. Jerry Rice (Oakland Raiders) now holds the record at 274 consecutive games with a reception.


1991 – U.S. hostage Jesse Turner is released after almost five years in captivity in Beirut, Lebanon. Nearly 100 people were kidnapped during the 10-year period from 1982-1992. Turner’s daughter is born five months after his kidnapping by Pro-Iranian terrorists.


October 22

1746 – Princeton University in New Jersey receives its charter, making it the fourth oldest university in the U.S. after Harvard, William & Mary, and Yale.


1836 – Sam Houston is inaugurated as the first elected president of the Republic of Texas.

1861 – The first telegraph line linking the West and East coast is completed.


1907 – Ringling Brothers “Greatest Show on Earth” buys Barnum & Bailey circus. They tour separately until the first combined performance in 1919 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

1938 – The first Xerox copy is made.

Watch the frist Xerox commercial ever:

1939 The first televised NFL game features the Eagles vs Dodgers.

1962 – President JFK imposes a naval blockade on Cuba, beginning the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1975 – The World Football League disbands after Week 12 of their second season.

1976 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans Red Dye No. 4 is after it is discovered that it causes tumors in the bladders of dogs.

1979 – Walt Disney World admits its 100-millionth guest.

1994 – A 70-foot-tall statue of Sam Houston is unveiled in Texas.



October 23

1813 – The Pacific Fur Company trading post in Astoria, Oregon, (named for John Jacob Astor) is sold to their rival, British North West Company, during the War of 1812. The fur trade in the Pacific Northwest is dominated for the next three decades by the United Kingdom until the beaver population dwindles.

1910 – Blanche Stuart Scott becomes the first woman to fly solo in an airplane at a public event when she flies at an air meet in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1912 Scott becomes the first female test pilot.


1932 – The “Fred Allen Show” premieres on the radio.

1973 – President Nixon agrees to turn over his White House tape recordings to Judge Sirica as part of the Watergate investigation.

1981 – The U.S. national debt tops $1 trillion. It now tops $17.8 trillion (more than $3 trillion more than this time last year).



October 24

1861 – The first transcontinental telegram is sent, ending the Pony Express.

1901 – Anna Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The 43-year-old Michigan teacher survives the drop. The next attempt isn’t until 10 years later – by a man. Taylor’s barrel is on display as part of the Daredevil Gallery at the Imax Theatre in Niagara Falls.



Watch Wilbur Wright and his Flying Machine-1909-The first ever use of motion picture aerial photography:

Watch the first ever flight in 1903. The day that shook the world, December 17 1903:

1926 – Harry Houdini’s last performance is at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Houdini dies a few days later on Halloween Day at the age of 52.

Master magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926) starred in five silent films from 1919 to 1923. The famed illusionist/escape artist also founded his own movie company, the Houdini Picture Corporation.

Watch him in a silent movie performing the rope escape:

1939 – Nylon stockings go on sale for the first time in Wilmington, Delaware. (See October 27, 1938)


1940 – The 40-hour-work week goes into effect as part of the Fair Labor Standards of 1938.

1987 – Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination is rejected by the U.S. Senate.

1989 – Televangelist Rev. Jim Bakker is sentenced to 45 years for fraud but serves only 4 years. He is now 73 years old. His wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, dies in 2007 at age 65.

2002 – Police arrest spree murderers 42-year-old John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in and around Washington, DC, that kills 10 people and wounds 3 others. Muhammad is sentenced to death and is executed by lethal injection in Virginia in 2009. Malvo receives life without parole because of his age.


October 25

1870 – Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes, opens in Baltimore, Maryland. Pimlico, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, is the second oldest racetrack in the U.S. behind Saratoga.

1903 – The U.S. Senate begins investigating the Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding administration over bribes for oil reserves without competitive bidding in Montana.


1924 – The “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip is first published.

1955 – Tappan sells the first microwave oven. It cost $1,295.

1971 – Roy Disney dedicates Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney died in 1966.


1978 – Gaylord Perry is the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues (AL – 1972 with the Cleveland Indians; NL – 1978 with the San Diego Padres).

1983 – The U.S. invades Grenada at President Reagan’s direction, a country 1/2,000 its population, to protect American citizens. (The U.S. wins!)


October 26

1776 – Benjamin Franklin departs from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.

1787 – The “Federalist Papers” are published calling for ratification of the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay write the series of 85 articles and essays.

1825 – The Erie Canal opens between the Hudson River and Lake Erie.


1881 – Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earp with Doc Holliday are involved in a gunfight near the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, against Billy and Ike Clanton with Tom and Frank McLaury. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers are killed. Virgin and Morgan are wounded.

1916 – Margaret Sanger (future Planned Parenthood founder) is arrested for obscenity by advocating birth control.

1949 – President Harry Truman increases the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour.

1954 – Walt Disney’s first television program, “Disneyland,” premieres on ABC.

1958 – PanAm flies the first transatlantic jet trip from New York to Paris.

1975 – Anwar Sadat became the first Egyptian president to officially visit the U.S.


1982 – Steve Carlton became the first pitcher to win 4 Cy Young awards. Roger Clemens has won 7 Cy Young Awards (in both leagues).


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