Today In History...

In 1654 America's first toll bridge opens in Rowley, Massachusetts. People crossed for free, but there was a charge for animals.

In 1765 The first U.S. medical school is proposed at the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1802 Washington, DC, is incorporated as a city, with the mayor to be appointed by the president, and the council elected by property owners.

In 1830 The first regular steam train passenger service begins.

In 1886 M.A. Maclean is elected the first mayor of Vancouver, BC.

In 1916 Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others are executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.

In 1919 America's first passenger flight is made from New York to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In 1921 West Virginia becomes the first state to charge a sales tax.

In 1933 Nellie T. Ross becomes the first female director of the U.S. Mint.

In 1937 Margaret Mitchell wins a Pulitzer Prize for her novel "Gone With The Wind."

In 1941 The film "Meet Joe Doe" starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck opens.

In 1944 During World War II, U.S. rationing of most grades of meats ends.

In 1945 Japanese forces on Okinawa launch their only major counter offensive, but failed to break the American lines.

In 1945 Indian forces capture Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.

In 1948 The U.S. Supreme Court rules covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.

In 1948 Pulitzer Prizes are awarded to playwright Tennessee Williams for "A Streetcar Named Desire" and to novelist James Michener for "Tales of the South Pacific."

In 1948 "The CBS Evening News with Douglas Edwards" debuts.

In 1962 163 were killed and 400 injured near Tokyo, Japan, when a train crashed into wreckage of collision between inbound freight train and outbound commuter train.

In 1971 National noncommercial network radio begins programming sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In 1971 Anti-war protestors, calling themselves the "Mayday Tribe," begin four days of demonstrations in Washington, DC, aimed at shutting down the nation's capital.

In 1979 Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female Prime Minister.

In 1981 Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands is reported in a coma on the 64th day of his fast at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.

In 1982 President Ronald Reagan begins 5 minute weekly radio broadcasts.

In 1982 During the Falklands War, Argentina reports a British submarine

had sunk the "General Belgrano," their only cruiser.

In 1983 U.S. Roman Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approve a pastoral letter that condemned the first use of nuclear weapons and virtually ruled out their use for retaliation.

In 1985 In Bonn, West Germany, leaders of the world's seven biggest industrial democracies praised the Reagan administration's approach in nuclear arms control talks with the Soviet Union.

In 1986 NASA's bad luck streak continues after the Challenger explosion, when an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing its destruction by remote control.

In 1987 The Miami Herald said its reporters had observed a young woman entering a Washington townhouse belonging to Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart.

In 1988 The White House acknowledges that first lady Nancy Reagan had used astrological advice to help schedule the President's important meetings.

In 1989 PLO leader Yasser Arafat said the PLO charter calling for the destruction of Israel had been "superseded" by a declaration urging peaceful coexistence of the Jewish state and a Palestinian state.

In 1990 The federal government formally approves the use of the drug AZT to treat children infected with the AIDS virus.

In 1991 Exxon and the state of Alaska withdraw from a $1 billion settlement of the Exxon Valdez oil spill (another was reached later).

In 1991 Author Jerzy Kosinski, 57, is found dead in his New York apartment.

In 1992 Hollywood song-and-dance man-turned-politician George Murphy dies at age 89.

In 1993 American sailor Terry M. Helvey confesses to stomping to death Allen Schindler, a homosexual shipmate, the previous fall. (Helvey was sentenced to life in prison).

In 1994 A federal judge strikes down a Washington state law banning doctor-assisted suicide.

In 1997 A group of Texas separatists end a weeklong standoff with authorities.

In 1998 "The Sevres Road," by 18-century landscape painter Camille Corot, is stolen from the Louvre in Paris.

In 1998 The space shuttle Columbia returns to Earth ending two weeks of lab work that advanced brain research.

In 1999 Tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas kill at least three dozen people.

In 1999 Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi meets with President Clinton during the first U.S. visit by a Japanese premier in 12 years.

In 2000 Mozambique President Chissano appeals for aid after flooding destroys hundreds of thousands of homes and kills more than 700.

In 2000 The trial of two Libyan intelligence agents accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 opens in the Netherlands. (Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted of murder, while Lamen Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted.)

In 2000 The archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O'Connor, dies at age 80.

In 2003 New Hampshire awakes to find its granite symbol of independence and  stubbornness, the Old Man of the Mountain, had collapsed into rubble.

In 2007 Wally Schirra, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and the  only man to fly on NASA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, dies at age 84.


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