Today In History...
In 1769 The Boston Gazette reports on the first piano built in the U.S., a spinet with a three to four octave range.
In 1793 President George Washington lays the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol using a silver trowel and marvel-headed gavel.
In 1810 Chile declares its independence from Spain.
In 1850 Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slaveowners to reclaim slaves who had escaped into other states.
In 1851 The New York Times goes on sale for the first time. The price was at 2 cents a copy.
In 1873 A panic caused by the failure of the brokerage firm of Jay Cooke and Company results in a five-year depression.
In 1927 The Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System (later CBS) goes on the air with a basic network of 16 stations.
In 1937 Green River Liquor is the first to try nighttime skywriting by the light of the moon over New York City.
In 1940 "You Can't Go Home Again" by Thomas Wolfe is published.
In 1947 The U.S. Air Force is established as a separate branch of the military. William Stuart Symington was sworn in as the first Air Force secretary.
In 1957 The TV western "Wagon Train" premieres on NBC.
In 1961 U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold dies in a plane crash in northern Rhodesia.
In 1963 "The Patty Duke Show" premiered on ABC-TV.
In 1965 "Get Smart" starring Don Adams premieres on NBC-TV.
In 1966 Gemini X is launched.
In 1975 Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is captured by the FBI in San Francisco, 19 months after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
In 1977 U.S. Voyager I takes the first space photograph of the earth and the moon together.
In 1980 Soyuz 38 is launched with the first Cuban in space.
In 1981 A museum honoring former President Gerald Ford is dedicated in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 1984 Joe Kittinger completes the first solo balloon crossing of Atlantic.
In 1985 Presbyterian Missionary Benjamin Weir is released from captivity in Beirut, ending 16-months of imprisonment by terrorists.
In 1986 In his first public comment on the arrest of American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev described the reporter as a spy who was caught in the act.
In 1987 President Reagan announces that he and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev would meet later in the year to sign a treaty banning medium- and shorter-range nuclear missiles.
In 1989 Hurricane Hugo hits the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico damaging 80% of the buildings on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
In 1990 Former savings-and-loan chief executive Charles H. Keating is jailed in Los Angeles in lieu of $5 million dollars bail after he was indicted on criminal fraud charges.
In 1991 The city of Atlanta is named the site for the 1996 Olympics.
In 1991 The space shuttle Discovery lands in California, ending a five-day mission.
In 1992 Ross Perot's name is submitted for the 50th state ballot, Arizona, on the same day that Perot hinted on NBC's "Today" show that he might throw his hat into the presidential ring, after all.
In 1994 Haiti's military leaders agree to an October 15 departure deadline, thereby averting a U.S.-led invasion to force them from power.
In 1994 Tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis, 40, is found dead in the guest cottage of a friend's home in Southampton, NY, of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
In 1995 The New York Times and The Washington Post agree to publish a 35,000 word manuscript penned by the Unabomber.
In 1996 Bob Dole falls off stage at a presidential campaign rally in Chico, CA, after a railing gives way; he was not seriously hurt.
In 1996 O.J. Simpson's civil trial begins in Santa Monica, CA.
In 1996 The Food and Drug Administration declares the French abortion pill RU-486 safe and effective.
In 1997 Two gunmen open fire on a group of German tourists in front of the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo, killing ten.
In 1997 Coopers & Lybrand merges with Price Waterhouse creating world's biggest accounting firm.
In 1997 Media mogul Ted Turner pledges $1 billion for United Nations causes.
In 2000 A transit strike forces nearly half a million Southern California commuters to scrounge for rides or get behind the wheel themselves.
In 2000 Workers begin rebuilding a railway line between the capitals of North and South Korea.
In 2001 Letters postmarked in Trenton, NJ, and later tested positive for anthrax, were sent to the New York Post and NBC's Tom Brokaw.