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 6-12, 2014
1781 – American and French troops begin the siege of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, the last battle of Revolutionary War.
1857 – The American Chess Association is organized and the first major U.S. chess tournament is played in New York City.
1866 – John and Simeon Reno stage the first train robbery in U. S. when they stop a moving train. The brothers steal $13,000 from an Ohio and Mississippi train in Indiana. The Reno Brothers gang goes on to rob several other trains. Vigilantes at the New Albany jail hang the brothers on December 12, 1868.
1882 – The first World Series baseball game is played. Cincinnati Red Stockings (American Association) beats the Chicago White Stockings (National League) 4-0. The American Association lasts only ten years. The Cincinnati Red Stockings become the Cincinnati Reds.
1889 – Thomas Edison screens his first motion picture.
1893 – Nabisco Foods invents Cream of Wheat.
1911 – Cy Young makes his farewell appearance in a major league baseball game at age 44. He loses to Brooklyn 13-3 in a Brave’s uniform in his 906th game. The award that bears his name is given annually to the best pitcher in each league.
1927 – “Jazz Singer,” the first movie with a sound track, premieres in New York City. The movie is based on the life of singer Al Jolson.
1949 – President Truman signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act passed by Congress. It is the first U.S. military foreign aid legislation of the Cold War era.
1979 – President Carter welcomes Pope John Paul II, who is the first Pope to visit the White House.
1991 – Elizabeth Taylor gets married for the 8th (and last) time to Larry Fortensky at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. They get divorced in 1996. Liz Taylor died in 2011 at age 79. Larry Fortensky is now 62 years old.
1816 – The first double-decker, paddle-wheel steamboat, the Washington, arrives in New Orleans. Shipbuilder Henry Shreve launches the steamboat earlier that year from the Monongahela River near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
1826 – The Granite Railway, the first chartered railway in the U.S., begins operations.
1916 – Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland College 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in history.
1944 – Australian-born opera singer Marjorie Lawrence sings at the White house at the request of President FDR. Lawrence is stricken by polio and paralyzed from the waist down at the height of her career. She recovers and returns to singing but encounters obstacles when she returns to singing. FDR encourages her to “carry on.”
1950 – U.S. forces invade North Korea by crossing the 38th parallel (Demilitarized Zone).
1952 – The first “Bandstand” show is broadcast from Philadelphia on WFIL-TV. Dick Clark becomes the host of “American Bandstand” in 1956 and serves until the show ends in 1989. Clark died in April 2012 at age 82.
1963 – President JFK signs the ratified Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
1965 – Robert Mitera, age 21, aces the 447-yard 10th hole at Miracle Hills Golf Course in Omaha, Nebraska, to score world’s longest straight hole-in-one.
1968 – The Motion Picture Association of America adopts the film-rating letter system to rate a film’s thematic and content suitability for certain audiences.
1985 – Lynette Woodard, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist in basketball, is chosen as the first woman basketball player for the Harlem Globetrotters. She plays with the Globetrotters until 1987 when she joins an Italian pro basketball team. Woodard is now 55 years old.
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire kills 200 people, destroys over 4 square miles of buildings, and burns the original Emancipation Proclamation.
1896 – Dow Jones starts reporting an average of selected industrial stocks.
1918 – During World War I, Sgt. Alvin York single-handedly kills 25 Germans and captures 132. Sergeant York is awarded his nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions. The film “Sergeant York” starring Gary Cooper becomes one of the top grossing Warner Brothers films of the entire war era and earns Cooper the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1942.
1935 – Ozzie Nelson marries Harriet Hilliard (Ozzie & Harriet).
1944 – The “Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” debut on the radio and airs until 1954. (See Oct. 10, 1952)
1957 – The Brooklyn Dodgers announce their plans to move to Los Angeles, California. They move to LA for the 1958 season.
1988 – Fire in Seattle’s Space Needle causes evacuation and $2,000 damage.
1990 – U.S. doctors Joseph E. Murray and E. Donnall Thomas win the Nobel Prize.
2001 – U.S. President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security.
1635 – Dissident Roger Williams is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs. In 1636 he purchases land from the Narragansett Indians and founds the colony of Rhode Island.
1855 – Isaac Singer patents sewing machine motor.
1855 – Joshua Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents the first calliope. The musical instrument is used to attract attention for circuses and arriving steamboats.
1872 – Aaron Montgomery starts his mail-order business.
1888 – The Washington Monument opens for public admittance. Construction begins in 1848. It is still the tallest stone structure in the world.
1915 – Woodrow Wilson becomes the first president to attend a World Series game. (World Series #12)
1916 – Babe Ruth (Boston Red Sox) pitches in the longest World Series game ever (14 innings) and beats the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-1.
1936 – Hoover Dam begins transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.
1960 – Cowboy quarterback Eddie LeBaron throws the shortest touchdown pass in football history (2 inches).
1973 – Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorce after 6 years of marriage. They have one daughter, Lisa Marie, who is now 46 years old.
1974 – Frank Robinson (Cleveland Indians) becomes the first black baseball manager.
1989 – Art Shell becomes the first black coach of an NFL team. His Los Angeles Raiders beat the New York Jets 14-7 on Monday Night Football.
1845 – The Naval School (now the U.S. Naval Academy) opens in Annapolis, Maryland.
1886 – The first dinner jacket (tuxedo) is worn to autumn ball at Tuxedo Park, New York.
1920 – The Cleveland Indian’s Elmer Smith hits the first World Series grand slam.
1952 – “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” premiers on TV and airs until 1966. The Ozzie and Harriet shows air on radio and TV simultaneously 1952 to 1954.
1963 – A treaty banning atmospheric nuclear tests is signed by the US, UK, and USSR.
1973 – Vice President Spiro T. Agnew pleads no contest to tax evasion and resigns. President Nixon nominates Gerald Ford as Vice President on October 12th to replace Spiro Agnew.
1975 – Liz Taylor gets married for the 6th time when she re-marries Richard Burton.
1978 – Congress approves Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. It is minted from 1979 to 1981 and again in 1999. Women’s suffragette Susan B. Anthony is the first woman to be honored by having her likeness appear on a circulating U. S. coin.
1991 – Greyhound emerges from bankruptcy reorganization after filing for Chapter 11 protection in 1990. The company names Frank Schmeider as its new CEO.
1809 – Explorer Meriwether Lewis dies under mysterious circumstances at an inn called Grinder’s Stand along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee. His death remains an unsolved mystery.
1865 – President Andrew Johnson paroles Confederate States Vice President Alexander H. Stephens.
1890 – The Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) is founded.
1929 – JC Penney opens store #1252 in Milford, Delaware, making it a nationwide company with stores in all lower 48 U.S. states.
1975 – “Saturday Night Live” premieres with George Carlin as its guest host. Carlin died in 2008 at age 71.
1983 – The last hand-cranked telephones in the U.S. went out of service as 440 telephone customers in Bryant Pond, Maine, are switched over to direct-dial.
1984 – Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan is the first American woman to walk in space. She flies on three Space Shuttle missions and logs 532 hours in space. Sullivan is now the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and the Deputy Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
1984 – Vice Presidential candidates Geraldine Ferraro (D) & George H. W. Bush (R) participate in a debate. Ferraro is the first woman from a major political party to be nominated as Vice President.
1990 – Oil hits a record $40.42 per barrel. Crude oil prices recently dropped below $100 per barrel.
1692 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony discontinues the witch trials in Salem. A total of 20 “witches” are executed, including eight women who are hanged on September 22nd.
1773 – America’s first insane asylum opens in Williamsburg, Virginia, for “Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds.” The building is destroyed in an 1885 fire. The grounds are excavated in 1972, the building is reconstructed, and it opens as a museum in 1985.
1850 – The Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, the first women’s medical school in the world, opens.
1915 – Ford Motor Company manufactures its 1 millionth Model T automobile.
1920 – Man O’War runs his last race and wins. He retires and sires 379 foals, including future Triple Crown winner War Admiral.
1928 – The iron lung, invented by Philip Drinker and Louis Shaw, is first used at the Boston Children’s Hospital. It is used to successfully treat a girl suffering from polio.
1949 – Eugenie Anderson becomes the first woman ambassador nominated in the U.S. She serves as the ambassador to Denmark until 1953 and ambassador to Bulgaria from 1963 to 1964.
1973 – President Nixon nominates Gerald Ford to replace Spiro Agnew as Vice President after Agnew resigns amid ethics charges.
1977 – The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the “reverse discrimination” case of Allan Bakke, white student denied admission to the University of California Med School.
2000 – The USS Cole is badly damaged in Aden, Yemen, by two suicide bombers, killing 17 crew and wounding at least 39.