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 was proposed at the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1802 Washington, DC was incorporated as a city, with the mayor appointed by the president and the council elected by property owners.
In 1830 The first regular steam train passenger service began.
In 1886 M.A. Maclean was elected the first mayor of Vancouver, BC.
In 1916 Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.
In 1919 America's first passenger flight was 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 became the first female director of the U.S. Mint.
In 1937 Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel "Gone With The Wind."
In 1941 The film "Meet Joe Doe" starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck opened.
In 1944 During World War II, the U.S. rationing of most grades of meat ended.
In 1945 Japanese forces on Okinawa launched their only major counter-offensive but failed to break the American lines.
In 1945 Indian forces captured Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.
In 1948 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities were legally unenforceable.
In 1948 Pulitzer Prizes were 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 the wreckage of a collision between an inbound freight train and an outbound commuter train.
In 1971 National noncommercial network radio began programming sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
In 1971 Anti-war protestors, calling themselves the "Mayday Tribe," began four days of demonstrations in Washington, DC, aimed at shutting down the nation's capital.
In 1979 Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first female Prime Minister.
In 1981 Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands was reported in a coma on the 64th day of his fast at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.
In 1982 President Ronald Reagan began 5-minute weekly radio broadcasts.
In 1982 During the Falklands War, Argentina reported a British submarine had sunk the "General Belgrano," their only cruiser.
In 1983 U.S. Roman Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved a pastoral letter that condemned the first use of nuclear weapons and virtually ruled out their service for retaliation.
In 1985 In Bonn, West Germany, leaders of the world's seven biggest industrial democracies praised the Reagan administration's approach to nuclear arms control talks with the Soviet Union.
In 1986 NASA's bad luck streak continued after the Challenger explosion, when an uncrewed 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 acknowledged that first lady Nancy Reagan had used astrological advice to help schedule the President's crucial meetings.
In 1989 PLO leader Yasser Arafat said the PLO charter calling for the destruction of Israel had been "superseded" by a declaration urging the peaceful coexistence of the Jewish and Palestinian states.
In 1990 The federal government formally approved the use of AZT to treat children infected with the AIDS virus.
In 1991 Exxon and the state of Alaska withdrew from a $1 billion settlement of the Exxon Valdez oil spill (another was reached later).
In 1991 Author Jerzy Kosinski, 57, was found dead in his New York apartment.
In 1992 Hollywood song-and-dance man-turned-politician George Murphy died at age 89.
In 1993 American sailor Terry M. Helvey confessed to stomping to death Allen Schindler, a homosexual shipmate, the previous fall. (Helvey was sentenced to life in prison).
In 1994 A federal judge struck down a Washington state law banning doctor-assisted suicide.
In 1997 A group of Texas separatists ended a weeklong standoff with authorities.
In 1998 "The Sevres Road," by 18th-century landscape painter Camille Corot, was stolen from the Louvre in Paris.
In 1998 The space shuttle Columbia returned to Earth, ending two weeks of lab work that advanced brain research.
In 1999 Tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas killed at least three dozen people.
In 1999 Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi met with President Clinton during the first U.S. visit by a Japanese premier in 12 years.
In 2000 Mozambique President Chissano appealed for aid after flooding destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and killed more than 700.
In 2000 The trial of two Libyan intelligence agents accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 opened 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, died at age 80.
In 2003 New Hampshire awoke 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, died at age 84.


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