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 September 5-11, 2016
1774- The Continental Congress assembles for the first time in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia with 56 delegates from 12 colonies (Georgia is not represented).
1881 – The American Red Cross provides relief for disaster for the first time after the Great Fire of 1881 in Michigan.
1882 – An estimated 10,000 workers march in the first Labor Day parade in New York City.
1885 – The first gasoline pump is delivered to a gasoline dealer in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1906 – Saint Louis University football player Bradbury Robinson makes the first legal forward pass in football to teammate Jack Schneider.
1918 – The 15th World Series begins a month early due to World War I.
1939 – President FDR declares U.S. neutrality at the start of World War II in Europe.
1945 – Iva Toguri D’Aquino is arrested for being the wartime radio propagandist “Tokyo Rose.” She serves six years and is later pardoned by President Gerald Ford. D’Aquino died in 2006 at age 90.
1953 – The first privately operated atomic reactor opens in Raleigh, North Carolina.
1960 – Wilma Rudolph, called the world’s fastest woman, wins her second of three gold medals in track and field at the Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Wilma suffered from polio as a child and overcame numerous childhood health issues and racial barriers to compete in the Olympics. After the 1960 Olympics she becomes a teacher and track coach. Wilma died of brain cancer in November 1994 at age 54.
1960 – Cassius Clay (later Mohamed Ali) captures the light heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rome. Watch a report with actual fight footage: https://youtu.be/-DkLQiijQos
1966 – The first Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon ends, raising $15,000. The telethons have raised over $2 billion in 50 years.
1975 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempts to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. Fromme is sentenced to life in prison and is released on parole in 2009. She is now 67 years old.
1978 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter start a peace conference at Camp David, Maryland. Sadat and Begin share the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.
1983 – The “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) becomes the first hour-long network news TV show. It started in 1975 as a half-hour news program. Robert MacNeil is now 85 and Jim Lehrer is 82 years old.
1991 – The U.S. trial of former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega begins.
2003 – In London, American magician David Blaine enters a clear plastic box and is suspended by a crane over the banks of the Thames River. He remains there until October 19 surviving only on water. Watch a video of his feat:
1716 – The first lighthouse in the U.S., The Boston Light, is built in Boston, Massachusetts.
1866 – Frederick Douglass is the first black delegate to a national convention in the U.S.
1899 – Carnation evaporated milk (called Carnation Sterilized Cream) is processed for the first time at a plant in Kent, Washington. The company later changes its name to Carnation Milk Company.
1901 – President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He dies 8 days later. Vice President Teddy Roosevelt becomes president.
1909 – Word reaches civilization that Admiral Robert Peary successfully traveled to the North Pole 5 months earlier. The New York Times prints the story on the 7th, but Dr. Frederick A. Cook claims to have reached the pole in April 1908, one year before Peary.
1920 – The first radio broadcast of a prizefight airs.
1946 – The All-American Football Conference (AFC) plays its first game. The final score is Cleveland 44, Miami 0.
1954 – WINS radio in New York City begins playing “rock ‘n roll” music when the Alan Freed Show premiers.
1963 – Major league baseball plays its 100,000th game.
1975 – Eighteen-year-old Czech tennis star Martina Navratilova asks the U.S. for political asylum in New York City during the US Open. Martina is granted a green card within a month. (She loses the US Open to Chris Evert.)
1978 – James Wickwire and Louis Reichardt are the first Americans to reach the top of the world’s second largest mountain, Pakistan’s K-2.
1986 – Barbra Streisand performs her first live concert in 20 years.
1995 – Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles breaks Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record when he plays in 2,131 consecutive baseball games. Ripken stretches the record to 2,632 consecutive games over his 16-year career. Watch him homer in the game:
1995 – Robert Packwood (R-OR) resigns from the Senate under threat of expulsion by the Senate Ethics Committee for sexual harassment.
2000 – The U.N. Millennium Summit begins in New York. It is the largest gathering of world leaders in history with more than 150 dignitaries present.
2002 – Congress convenes at Federal Hall in New York City for a rare special session to express the nation’s mourning for the loss on September 11, 2001, and express unity in the war against terrorism.
1813 – “Uncle Sam” is first used to refer to the United States. The nickname is attributed to meatpacker Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, who supplies barrels of meat to American troops during the War of 1812. The barrels are stamped with “U.S.” and the meat is soon referred to as Uncle Sam’s.
1876 – An attempted robbery by the James/ Younger gang of the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, fails and a resident is killed as the gang escapes. Frank and Jesse James get away, but Cole, Bob, and Jim Younger are arrested weeks later, tried, convicted of murder, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Bob dies in prison in 1889. Jim is pardoned in 1901 but commits suicide the next year. Cole is also pardoned in 1901 and dies in 1916. Jesse James is murdered in 1882 and Frank James dies in 1915 at the age of 72.
1888 – Edith Eleanor McLean is the first baby placed in an incubator, called a “hatching cradle.” She is born premature at State Emigrant Hospital on Ward’s Island, New York, weighing only 2 pounds 7 ounces.
1915 – Johnny Gruelle patents his Raggedy Ann doll. Gruelle died in 1938 at age 57.
1936 – Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) begins operation.
1956 – Air Force Capt. Iven Kincheloe, Jr., sets an unofficial manned aircraft altitude record when he flies his Bell X-2 more than 126,000 feet above the earth. The U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense refuse to confirm the record and have never changed their decision.
1963 – The Professional Football Hall of Fame is dedicated in Canton, Ohio.
1979 – The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) makes its television debut.
1981 – Judge Wapner and the People’s Court premiers on TV. Judge Wapner is now 96 years old. Watch Judge discuss his most memorable case:
2001 – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approves Chevron’s bid to buy Texaco.
2008 – The U.S. Government takes control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage / financing companies in the U.S.
1565 – St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S., is established.
1883 – The Northern Pacific Railroad drives in the last spike at Independence Creek, Montana.
1892 – The “Pledge of Allegiance” first appears in print in The Youth’s Companion. Baptist minister Francis Bellamy is the author.
1900 – Over 6,000 people are killed when a hurricane and tidal wave destroy Galveston, Texas. It is the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
1916 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Emergency Revenue Act, doubling the rate of income tax and adding inheritance and munitions profits tax.
1920 – U.S. Air Mail service begins (New York City to San Francisco).
1921 – The first Miss America, 16-year-old Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C, is crowned in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Fall Frolic, held a year earlier as a way to keep tourists in Atlantic City, is the precursor to the pageant. The longest serving Miss America Pageant host is Bert Parks (1955-1979).
1930 – The comic strip “Blondie” first appears in print.
1951 – Japan signs a treaty of peace with 48 countries in San Francisco following the end of World War I.
1966 – “Star Trek” premieres on TV (50th anniversary) and airs for only three seasons. There are two highly successful TV spin-offs and 10 movies from two of the three TV shows. Watch the premiere opening credits:
1971 – The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opens in Washington, DC.
1974 – President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard Nixon of all federal crimes related to the Watergate scandal.
1994 – The MTV awards feature newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. They file for divorce in 1996. Watch the pair open the awards ceremonies:
1999 – U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno names former Senator John Danforth to head an independent investigation of the 1993 fire at the Branch Davidian church near Waco, Texas.
2004 – NASA’s unmanned spacecraft Genesis crash lands in Utah when it returns from space after its parachute fails to open.
2005 – Two EMERCOM Il-76 aircraft land at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock Air Force Base, making it the first time Russia has flown such a mission to North America.
2015 – Comedian Stephen Colbert debuts as the new host of CBS’s “The Late Show.”
1675 – The New England colonies declare war on the Wampanoag Indians, who live in what is now Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is believed that Thanksgiving is based on the interaction between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians years earlier.
1776 – The Continental Congress renames the “United Colonies” the “United States.”
1830 – Charles Durant, the first U.S. aeronaut, flies a hot air balloon from Castle Garden in New York City to Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
1861 – Sally Tompkins becomes the only female Confederate Army commissioned officer during the Civil War. Captain Tompkins, called “The Angel of the Confederacy,” founded and directed Robertson Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.
1926 – The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is created by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).
1945 – Grace Hopper discovers the first “bug” in a computer while working with her associates at Harvard. A moth is removed from a relay with tweezers.
1955 – Elvis Presley makes his first of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Actor Charles Laughton hosts for Ed, who is recovering from a serious car accident. Watch Elvis in a 1956 performance:
1957 – President Eisenhower signs the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction.
1963 – Gov. George Wallace (D-AL) is served with a federal injunction to stop his orders that state police bar black students from enrolling in white schools in Alabama.
1985 – President Reagan orders sanctions against South Africa.
1987 – Democrat presidential candidate Gary Hart admits on the TV news show “Nightline” to cheating on his wife. Watch part of the TV interview:
1990 – President George Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Helsinki, Finland, to urge Iraq to leave Kuwait.
2008 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 100 million applications downloaded.
2009 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 1.8 billion applications downloaded.
2014 – Apple unveils the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.
1608 – John Smith is elected president of the Colony Council in Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent British colony in North American.
1776 – Nathan Hale volunteers after George Washington asks for a spy. Hale is arrested by the British on September 21st and hanged the following day. He was 21 years old.
1846 – Elias Howe patents his sewing machine.
1858 – John Holden hits the first recorded home run during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Eckfords and the New York Mutuals.
1913 – The Lincoln Highway opens as the first paved coast-to-coast highway. It measures 3,389 miles from New York to California.
1924 – Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb are found guilty of murdering Bobby Franks, a 14-year-old acquaintance. Their lawyer is Clarence Darrow. Leopold and Loeb, teenagers at the time of the murder, are sentenced to life in prison. Loeb is killed in prison in 1936. In 1958, after thirty-four years of confinement, Leopold is released from prison. He moves to Puerto Rico, where he dies in 1971 at the age of 65.
1948 – Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars is indicted for treason in Washington, DC. She is convicted and spends 12 years in prison. Gillars was a Nazi radio propagandist during World War II.
1953 – Swanson sells its first “TV dinner.” It is a turkey dinner. Watch a 1955 commercial:
1955 – “Gunsmoke” premieres on CBS TV. The final episode airs in 1975.
1955 – Bert Parks begins a 25-year career as the host of the “Miss America Pageant” on TV. Watch Bert Parks sing the theme song:
1979 – President Carter grants clemency to four Puerto Rican nationalists who had been imprisoned for an attack on the House of Representatives in 1954 and an attempted assassination of President Truman in 1950.
1984 – Sean O’Keefe, age 11, becomes the youngest person to cycle across the U.S. It takes Sean 24 days.
1984 – Alex Trebek hosts his first episode of daily syndicated version of the game show Jeopardy! Art Fleming was the first host. Trebek is 76 years old.
1992 – Lucy Van Pelt in the Peanuts comics raises her Psychiatric Help from 5 cents to 47 cents.
1997 – Mark McGwire joins Babe Ruth as the only baseball players to hit 50 homeruns in 2 consecutive years.
1997 – Discovery buys the Travel Channel for $20 million.
2012 – Teachers in Chicago go on strike, affecting 350,000 students. The strike by 29,000 teachers ends on September 18th.
September 11 (National Day of Service and Remembrance)
1941 – Construction begins on the Pentagon and it is completed on January 15, 1943. The Pentagon is actually located in Northern Virginia just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
2001 – Two passenger planes hijacked by terrorists crash into New York City’s World Trade Center Towers, causing the collapse of both buildings and killing of 2,752 people. Terrorists hijack another passenger plane and crash it into the Pentagon, killing of 125 people. A fourth hijacked airplane crashes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew attempt to regain control of the aircraft. All 64 people on board are killed. Let’s roll!
2002 – The Pentagon is rededicated after repairs are completed, exactly one year after the terrorist attack on the building.
2011 – The Memorial Plaza at the National September 11th Memorial opens for the first time during a ceremony at the World Trade Center site.