October 23

  1899: The first stage play featuring the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), opened at the Star Theatre in Buffalo, NY.

1947: On a cloudless day, thousands of freshwater fish fell from the sky in Marksville, Louisiana.

1958: The Smurfs, a fictional race of blue dwarves, later popularized in a Hanna-Barbera animated cartoon series, appeared for the first time in the story La flute à six schtroumpfs by Peyo (1928-1992), which was serialized in the weekly Spirou magazine in Belgium.

October 24

1861: The first transcontinental telegraph message was transmitted from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, bringing the end of the 18-month-old Pony Express.

1901: Annie Edson Taylor (1838-1921) rode in a barrel over Niagara Falls and survived, becoming the first person to do so.

1931: The George Washington Bridge opened across the Hudson River, linking New Jersey and New York.

photograph of earth from outer space.

1992: The Toronto Blue Jays became the first Major League Baseball team based outside the United States to win the World Series.

2002: Spree killers John Allen Muhammad (1960-2009) and Lee Boyd Malvo (born 1985) were arrested in Myersville, Md., ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, DC.

2008: Many of the world’s stock exchanges experienced the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10 percent, in what became known as “Bloody Friday.”

October 25

1764: Abigail Smith (1744-1818) married John Adams (1735-1826), who later became the second U.S. president, from 1797 to 1801.

1940: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. (1877-1970), was appointed as the first general of African-American descent in the U.S. Army.

1960: Archibald J. Turner (age unknown) was granted a patent for the football shoulder pad.

2004: Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (born 1926) announced that transactions using the U.S. dollar would be banned.

October 26

1775: King George III (1738-1820) of Great Britain appeared before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorized a military response to quell the American uprising.

1776: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1791) departed from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.

1921: The Alabama centennial half dollar commemorative coin was minted to celebrate the centennial of Alabama’s admission to the Union in 1819. This was the first commemorative coin minted with the image of a living individual, Alabama’s then-Gov. Thomas Kilby (1865-1943), along with the state’s governor in 1819, William Bibb (1781-1820). It was also the first U.S. coin designed by a woman, Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966).

2001: President George W. Bush (born 1946) signed the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law drawn up in response to the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The USA PATRIOT Act, as it is officially known, is an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.”

October 27

1701: Philadelphia, Pa., was founded.

1787: New York newspapers began publishing the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), James Madison (1751-1836) and John Jay (1745-1829), calling for ratification of the

U.S. Constitution.

1838: Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs (1796-1860) issued the Extermination Order, which ordered all Mormons to leave the state or be exterminated.

1904: The first subway opened in New York City.

1954: Benjamin O. Davis Jr. (1912-2002) became the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.

1964: Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) delivered a speech on behalf of Republican candidate for president, Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), launching his (Reagan’s) political career.

2011: A 16-foot-long Burmese python was captured in the Everglades.

October 28

1886: The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States commemorating the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution, was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908).

2005: Lewis Libby (born 1950), chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney (born 1941), was indicted for publicly identifying Valerie Plame (born 1963) as a CIA agent. Libby resigned that day.

October 29

1787: The opera Don Giovanni by Mozart (1756-1791) had its premiere performance in Prague.

1863: The International Red Cross was formed by 18 countries meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

1886: The first ticker-tape parade took place in New York City when office workers spontaneously threw ticker tape into the streets when the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

1954: Hudson Motor Co. and Nash-Kelvinator Corp. merged to form American Motors Corporation. (AMC went out of business in 1987.)

1960: Cassius Clay (born 1942, took the name Muhammad Ali in 1964) won his first professional fight, in Louisville, Ky. 1972: Born this day: actresses Tracee Ellis Ross (Blackish), and Gabrielle Union (Bring It On).

1991: NASA’s Galileo spacecraft made its closest approach to 951 Gaspra, becoming the first probe to visit an asteroid.

1994: Francisco Martin Duran, 26, fired 29 rounds from an SKS rifle at the White House. (He was later convicted of trying to kill President Bill Clinton and sentenced to 40 years in prison.)

1998: Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off with 77-year-old John Glenn aboard, making him the oldest person to go into space.