This Week In History October 28 – November 3


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of October 28-November 3, 2013


October 28

1636 – Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts is founded, making it the oldest university in America. (See Oct. 22, 1746)

1793 – Eli Whitney applies for a patent on his cotton gin.


1858 – Macy’s Department store opens in New York City.

1886 – The Statue of Liberty is dedicated by President Grover Cleveland. The event is celebrated by the first confetti (ticker tape) parade in New York City.


1904 – St. Louis police try a new investigation method when they test for fingerprints.

1919 – The Volstead Act is passed by Congress, which starts Prohibition over President Wilson’s veto.

1936 – President FDR rededicates the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.

1962 – New York Giant Y.A. Tittle passes for a record 7 touchdowns against the Washington Redskins, winning 49-34. He shares that record with six other quarterbacks, most recently Payton Manning (Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens on September 5, 2013).


1974 – Luna 23 is launched and lands on the Moon. The spacecraft is damaged on landing and lunar samples could not be collected. Luna 24 is launched in 1976 and successfully collects and returns lunar samples.


1986 – The centennial of the Statue of Liberty’s dedication is celebrated in New York Harbor.

1989 – The Oakland A’s sweep the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. A 6.9 earthquake hits the Bay Area at the start of Game 3.

1992 – Lee Jang Rim predicts that today would be the end of the world!


October 29

1929 – “Black Tuesday” – the Stock Market crashes triggering “The Great Depression.”

1945 – The first ballpoint pen goes on sale, 57 years after it is patented by John J. Loud. (See Oct. 30, 1888)

1956 – Chet Huntley and David Brinkley of NBC News team up for a nightly broadcast. The last Huntley-Brinkley Report airs in 1970.


1960 – Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) wins his first professional fight, beating Tunney Hunsaker in 6 rounds.

1966 – The National Organization of Women is founded.

1998 – The Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on Mission STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making Glenn the oldest person to go into space. Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth.


2012 – Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey resulting in 110 deaths, $50 billion in damage, and forcing the New York stock exchange to close.


October 30

1768 – Wesley Chapel in New York City is initiated as the first Methodist church in the U.S.


1873 – The P T Barnum’s circus, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” debuts in New York City.

1888 – John J. Loud patents the ballpoint pen. (See Oct. 29, 1945)

1945 – Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson to the Montreal Royals baseball team.

1954 – The Defense Department announces the elimination of all segregated regiments in the U.S. Armed Forces.

1974 – California Angel Nolan Ryan throws the fastest recorded pitch at 100.9 MPH. (See Sept. 22, 1993)

1989 – Smith Dairy at Orrville, Ohio, makes largest milk shake at 1,575.2 gallons to celebrate the opening of its newest plant.


October 31

1846 – The Donner party, unable to cross the Sierra Nevada pass, constructs a winter camp. Only half of the 90 people who left Illinois arrive in California the following spring. They resorted to cannibalism to survive.

1892 – Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

1913 – The first U.S. paved coast-to-coast highway, the Lincoln Highway, is dedicated.

1974 – One of Ted Bundy’s 30+ victims, Laura Aime, disappears in Utah. Her body is found November 27th. Bundy is executed in the electric chair in 1989.


2002 – A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas, formally indicts former Enron Corp. chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his Enron.


November 1

1776 – Mission San Juan Capistrano is founded in California. Swallows return to the mission on March 19th each year.


1800 – John Adams is the first president to live in the White House.

1936 – The Rodeo Cowboy’s Association is founded.

1938 – Seabiscuit beats War Admiral in a match race at Pimlico horse racing track. (See Oct. 25, 1870)


2012 – Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars, predicted to have formed 500 million years after the big bang.


November 2

1783 – General George Washington, later the first American President, bids farewell to his army at Fraunces Tavern after winning the American Revolutionary War.


1898 – Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota when Johnny Campbell leads the crowd in cheering on the football team.


1947 – Howard Hughes flies the “Spruce Goose,” a large wooden airplane of his own design.


1948 – President Harry Truman is re-elected in an upset over Republican Thomas Dewey.


1976 – New Jersey voters approve gambling in Atlantic City.

1984 – Velma Barfield becomes the first woman executed in the United States since 1962 after her conviction of murder. She is convicted for one murder but admits to six. She is the first woman executed by lethal injection.



November 3

1783 – George Washington orders the Continental Army disbanded.

1883 – The U.S. Supreme Court decides that Native Americans can’t be Americans.

1896 – Martha Hughes Cannon of Utah is elected the first female state senator.

1930 – The first vehicular tunnel to a foreign country opens connecting Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada.

1952 – Clarence Birdseye markets frozen peas using his invention for the flash freezing process of foods.


1956 – The movie “Wizard of Oz” is first televised (CBS-TV).

1975 – Good Morning America premieres on ABC-TV with hosts David Hartman and Nancy Dussault.


1994 – Susan Smith, who claimed her two sons were carjacked, is arrested for murder after her car was found in John D. Long Lake with her children still strapped in their seats. Smith is now serving a sentence of life in prison after confessing to their murder. She will be eligible for parole in 2024.



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