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 October 10-16, 2016
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.
1913 – President Woodrow Wilson triggers the explosion of the Gamboa Dike that ends the construction of the Panama Canal.
1920 – The Cleveland Indian’s Elmer Smith hits the first World Series grand slam.
1933 – Dreft, the first synthetic detergent, goes on sale.
1952 – “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” premiers on TV and airs until 1966. The Ozzie and Harriet show airs on radio and TV simultaneously from 1952 to 1954.
1963 – The U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R. sign a treaty banning atmospheric nuclear tests.
1965 – The Red Baron makes his first appearance in the “Peanuts” comic strip.
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. They were divorced in 1974. Watch a slide show of Taylor and Burton on and off the screen:
1978 – Congress approves the 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.
1983 – NBC premieres the true life drama “Adam,” based on the 1981 murder of John Walsh’s son. Walsh launched “America’s Most Wanted” in 1988. Watch an A&E story about Adam (parts of this video are disturbing):
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.
1869 – Thomas Edison files for a patent on his first invention. The electric machine is used for counting votes for Congress, however Congress did not buy it.
1890 – The Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) is founded.
1911 – Ty Cobb (American League) & Frank Schulte (National League) are baseball’s first MVPs. They each get a new car.
1929 – JC Penney opens store #1252 in Milford, Delaware, making it a nationwide company with stores in all lower 48 states. James Cash Penney died in 1971 at age 95.
1936 – The radio show “Professor Quiz” premiers as the first true quiz program and airs until 1948.
1943 – The Yankees beat the Cardinals in 40th World Series to become the first team to win 10 World Series. The Yankees have won 27 World Series in 40 appearances.
1950 – The Federal Communications Commission issues the first license to broadcast television in color to CBS.
1958 – The U.S. launches the lunar probe Pioneer 1. The probe does not reach its destination and falls back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere.
1968 – Apollo 7 is launched as the first manned Apollo mission in which live television broadcasts are received from orbit.
1975 – “Saturday Night Live” premieres with George Carlin as its guest host. Carlin died in 2008 at age 71. Watch the first show with Carlin’s monologue about football and baseball: George Carlin
1975 – Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham are married in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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). Watch a brief lecture about how Buzz Aldrin inspired her to become an astronaut:
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 high of $40.42 per barrel. Crude oil prices rose to $127 in 2008 and dropped to less than $40 per barrel in 2014.
1994 – The Colorado Supreme Court declares that the anti-gay rights measure in the state is unconstitutional.
2006 – “30 Rock” starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan debuts on TV and airs until 2013.
1692 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony discontinues the witch trials in Salem. A total of 20 “witches” are executed, including eight women who were 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.
1792 – The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus is dedicated in Baltimore, Maryland.
1850 – The Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania opens as the first women’s medical school in the world.
1892 – The original version of the Pledge of Allegiance is first recited in public schools in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing. The pledge is written by Francis Bellamy.
1901 – President Theodore Roosevelt renames the Executive Mansion the White House.
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.
1961 – The first video memoirs by a U.S. president are made when Walter Cronkite interviews Dwight D. Eisenhower. Watch one of the video memoirs – on the 20th anniversary of D-Day:
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, a white student twice denied admission to the University of California Medical School. In June 1978 the Supreme Court rules that affirmative action is constitutional, but it invalidates the use of racial quotas. Bakke eventually graduates from medical school and becomes an anesthesiologist.
1994 – NASA’s Magellan space probe ends its four-year mission to map the surface of Venus.
2000 – The USS Cole is badly damaged in Yemen by two suicide bombers, killing 17 crew and wounding at least 39.
2001 – A special episode of the TV show America’s Most Wanted airs at the request of President George W. Bush and focuses on 22 wanted terrorists.
1775 – The Continental Congress creates the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Army is created on June 14, 1775.
1792 – Robert B. Thomas publishes “The Farmer’s Almanac.” The word “Old” is added to the title after 39 years. It is the oldest continuously published periodical in America.
1792 – George Washington lays the cornerstone of the Executive Mansion. President Teddy Roosevelt renames it the White House on October 12, 1901.
1860 – The first aerial photo in U.S. is taken from a balloon in Boston, Massachusetts.
1914 – Garrett Morgan invents and patents the gas mask.
1947 – “Kukla, Fran & Ollie” premieres on TV and airs until 1947. Kukla (a clown) and Ollie (a dragon) are puppets with Fran Allison as the hostess. Burr Tillstrom is the show’s creator and puppeteer. Burr died in 1985 at age 68 and Fran died in 1989 at age 81. Watch part of a very early episode:
1957 – Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra introduce the Ford Edsel on an hour-long special.
1982 – The International Olympic Committee Executive Committee approves the reinstatement of Jim Thorpe’s gold medals from the 1912 Olympics. Thorpe is stripped of his medals after his amateur status is nullified. Thorpe died in 1953 at age 64.
1987 – The U.S. Navy first uses trained dolphins for military purposes in the Persian Gulf. The dolphins detect and mark underwater mines. The Navy uses over 100 dolphins as part of the program. Watch a report about the training:
1998 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) cancels its regular season games, due to work stoppage, for first time in its 52-year history.
1999 – The U.S. Senate rejects ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
1773 – The United Kingdom’s East India Company ship’s cargo of tea on the ship Peggy Stewart is burned at Annapolis, Maryland.
1834 – Henry Blair is the first black person to obtain a U.S. patent. He invents a corn planter.
1912 – Presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt is shot while campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The bullet struck Roosevelt’s metal eyeglasses case before entering his chest. He delivers his 90-minute speech before going to the hospital. The would-be assassin John Schrank was deemed insane and confined for life to an asylum. Woodrow Wilson wins the 1912 election.
1926 – Alan Alexander Milne’s book “Winnie-the-Pooh” is released.
1947 – Chuck Yeager, in a Bell XS-1, makes the first supersonic flight at Mach 1.015, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier. Watch a short report on the flight:
1952 – The UN General Assembly has its first meeting at their new headquarters in New York.
1960 – Senator John F. Kennedy first suggests creating the Peace Corps while at the University of Michigan. Newly elected President Kennedy signs Executive Order 10924 establishing the Peace Corps in March of 1961.
1962 – U.S. U-2 espionage planes locate Soviet-supplied missile launchers in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis starts when Cuban anti-aircraft gunners open fire on the U.S. reconnaissance planes on October 27th. Khrushchev in Russia blinks first.
1964 – Martin Luther King Jr. wins the Nobel Peace Prize. He is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
1968 – The first live telecast from space to Earth is made from the manned U.S. spacecraft Apollo 7.
1978 – “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” becomes the first TV movie made from a TV series. Watch a TV ad for CHIPS and the Gilligan’s Island TV movie:
1984 – George ‘Sparky’ Anderson becomes the first baseball manager to win 100 games and a World Series in both leagues.
1996 – Dow Jones closes over 6,000 for first time (6,010).
2001 – Toys “R” Us introduces the new version of Geoffrey the giraffe as a life-like giraffe. The toy store redesigns the character again in 2007 as a cartoon giraffe.
2003 – Baseball fan Steve Bartman deflects the ball away from Chicago Cubs outfielder Moises Alou. The Cubs, who were leading in the game, give up eight runs in the inning and lose to the Florida Marlins 8-3. The Bartman incident is seen as the turning point in the National League Championship Series. Watch the incident:
1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company is incorporated.
1881 – The first American fishing magazine, American Angler, is published.
1883 – The Supreme Court declares unconstitutional the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which guarantees equal treatment in public accommodations and transportation.
1912 – Red Sox outfielder Tris Speaker makes the only World Series unassisted double play.
1924 – President Calvin Coolidge declares the Statue of Liberty a national monument.
1928 – The German dirigible “Graf Zeppelin” lands in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The “Hindenburg” crashes at Lakehurst in 1937.
1949 – Billy Graham begins his ministry with a crusade in Los Angeles, California. Graham will be 98 years old on November 7th. Watch an ABC report on the final sermon by America’s pastor:
1951 – “I Love Lucy” starring real-life married couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz debuts on TV and airs until 1957. Lucille Ball also starred in The Lucy Show, 1962-1968, and Here’s Lucy, 1968-1974. Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960.
1956 – William J. Brennan, Jr. is appointed to the Supreme Court and serves until 1990.
1965 – The Senate passes the Freedom of Information Act. President LBJ signs it into law on July 4, 1966.
1966 – Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale create the Black Panther Party. Seale is one of the Chicago 7 who protested the 1968 Democrat National Convention.
1966 – President LBJ signs a bill creating the Department of Transportation.
1989 – Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe as the National Hockey League’s all-time top scorer with 1,851 points. Gretsky retires with a total of 2,857 points, a record that is deemed untouchable. Gretzky is now 56 years old.
1991 – Clarence Thomas is confirmed as Supreme Court Justice by a Senate vote of 52-48. Justice Thomas is now 68 years old.
1997 – Former U.S. Representative Dan Rostenkowski is released from prison after serving 15 months of a 17-month sentence for mail fraud. The fraud case is led by future U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Rostenkowski died in 2010 at age 82.
2001 – NASA’s Galileo spacecraft passes within 112 miles of Jupiter’s moon Io.
2011 – Legoland Florida (the world’s largest Legoland theme park) opens in Winter Haven, Florida. Watch a slow-motion video tour of the park:
1846 – Dentist William T. Morton of Massachusetts demonstrates the effectiveness of ether as an anesthesia.
1859 – Abolitionist John Brown leads 21 men in an unsuccessful raid on a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, during the Civil War. They are captured the following day. Brown is put on trial for treason, sentenced to death, and hanged on December 2nd.
1869 – A Boston hotel becomes the first hotel in the U.S. to install indoor plumbing.
1916 – Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, opens a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. She publishes many articles in the 1920s supporting eugenics, the science of improving the human population by controlled breeding to increase the desirable heritable characteristics. Hitler uses eugenics during WWII. Sanger died in 1966 at age 86.
1923 – Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio is founded by Walt Disney. Disney died in 1966 at age 65.
1940 – The first draft lottery in the U.S. for World War II is held. Number 158 is the first number drawn.
1956 – William J. Brennan Jr. becomes a Supreme Court Justice and serves until 1990. Brennan died in 1997 at age 91.
1962 – Byron R. White becomes a Supreme Court Justice and serves until 1993. White died in 2002 at age 84.
1968 – Mexico City Summer Olympics medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their black-gloved fists in the Black Power salute during the medal ceremony. Watch a video that includes interviews from their alma mater, San Jose State University:
1982 – Mt. Palomar Observatory is the first to detect Halley’s Comet on its 13th return to Earth. It appears to the naked eye in 1986. Haley’s Comet will pass by Earth again in 2061 on its next 76-year return.
1984 – A baboon heart is transplanted into 15-day-old Baby Fae in a California hospital. She dies 20 days later.
1986 – The U.S. government closes down again due to budget problems.
1987 – Jessica McClure, age 18 months, is rescued 58 hours after falling into a 22-feet deep well shaft. Jessica is now 30 years old. Watch the amazing rescue:
1989 – President George H.W. Bush signs the Gramm-Rudman budget reduction law that orders federal programs to be cut by $16.1 billion.
1995 – The Million-Man March, led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is held in Washington, DC. An estimated 800,000 mostly black men attend.
2001 – The U.S. Coast Guard lifts a ban on liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers entering Boston Harbor that is imposed on September 26 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.
2002 – The Arthur Andersen accounting firm is sentenced to five years of probation and fined $500,000 for obstructing the federal investigation of the energy company Enron.
2013 – The U.S. ends its 16-day government shut down and avoids default after a bi-partisan deal in the Senate.