This Week in History

December 22

  1808: The iconic Fifth Symphony by Ludwig von Beethoven premiered in Vienna, Austria, with Beethoven himself conducting.

  1937: The Lincoln Tunnel opened to traffic in New York City.

  1944: During the  Battle of the Bulge, German troops demanded the surrender of U.S. troops at Bastogne, Belgium, prompting the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: “Nuts!”

  1965: In the United Kingdom, a 70 mph speed limit was applied to all rural roads including motorways for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit.

1989: Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opened after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.


December 23

1823: A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, was published anonymously in the Troy, New York, Sentinel.

1919: The United Kingdom outlawed sexual discrimination.

1938: The first modern coelacanth was discovered in South Africa. Coelacanths were thought to have been extinct for 100 million years. The coelacanth is considered a “living fossil” due to its apparent lack of significant evolution over millions of years. The coelacanth is thought to have evolved into roughly its current form approximately 400 million years ago.

1948: Seven Japanese convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East were executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo.

1970: The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City, was topped out at 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world.

1979: Soviet forces invaded and occupied Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.

1986: Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.


December 24

1818: “Silent Night” by Franz Xaver Gruber (music) and Father Joseph Mohr (lyrics) was first performed in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

1828: Rachel Donelson Jackson, wife of President-elect Andrew Jackson, died in Nashville, Tenn.

1906: Reginald Fessenden transmitted the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo and a speech.

1951: Libya gained independence from Italy.

1955: NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) tracked Santa Claus for the first time in what has become an annual Christmas Eve tradition.

1968: The crew of Apollo 8 entered into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.

1974: Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin, Australia.


December 25

1642: English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian Sir Isaac Newton was born in Lincolnshire, England.

1643: Christmas Island was found and named by Captain William Mynors of the East India Company vessel, the Royal Mary.

1821: Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was born in Oxford, Mass.
1924: Rod Serling, producer of “Twilight Zone,” was born in Syracuse, N.Y.

1914: Known as the Christmas truce, German and British troops on the Western Front temporarily cease fire during World War I, “The Great War.”

1990: The first successful trial run took place of the system that would become the World Wide Web.

2006: Entertainer James Brown died in Atlanta, Ga., age 73.


December 26

1972: Harry S. Truman (33rd U.S. president, 1945-1953) died in Kansas City, Mo., at age 88.

December 27

1831: Charles Darwin embarked on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he began to formulate the theory of evolution.
1845: Ether anesthetic was used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Ga.
1922: Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first aircraft carrier in the world to be commissioned.
1932: Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.
1945: The World Bank and International Monetary Fund were created with an agreement by 29 nations.
1966: The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, was discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
1978: Guitarist Chris Bell of the band Big Star died in a car wreck in East Memphis, Tenn., at age 27.
1979: The Soviet Union invaded the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

December 28

1961: Edith Galt Wilson, first lady of President Woodrow Wilson, died at age 89 in Alexandria, Va.
1962: 51st Davis Cup: Australia beats Mexico in Brisbane (5-0).
1963: “Double Dublin” closes at Little Theater NYC after 4 performances.
1965: Ballon d’Or: Benfica striker Eusébio wins award for best European football player; first Portuguese national to win, and still only Benfica player.
1966: 55th Davis Cup: Australia beats India in Melbourne (4-1).
1967: KTSB (now KSNT) TV channel 27 in Topeka, KS (NBC) begins broadcasting.
1967: Muriel Siebert is 1st woman to own a seat on New York Stock Exchange.
1968: Beatles’ “White Album” goes #1 & stays #1 for 9 weeks.
1970: Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) adopts constitution.
1971: Hashish now falls under the Dutch Opium Law (Opiumwet).
1973: US President Nixon signs Endangered Species Act into law.
1973: Akron Ohio’s Chamber of Commerce terminates itself from Soap Box Derby.


DEC. 22 — DEC. 28


Get ready to snuggle in your warm blanket with a mug of hot chocolate and your favorite holiday snacks!

December 24– CHRISTMAS EVE
Christmas has the power to reunite families and friends, warm up our hearts, and remind us that we have so many things to be thankful for.

December 25– CHRISTMAS
Every year we celebrate Christmas, a day for spending time with family, observing an important holiday, partaking in lighthearted traditions, or just spreading some holiday cheer!

With beginnings in 17th century
Germany, these sweet treats were curved to represent shepherds’ crooks.