This Week In History – July 19, 2017

July 19


       A.D. 64: The city of Rome was almost entirely destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.

1701: Representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy signed the Nanfan Treaty, which ceded a large territory north of the Ohio River to England.

       1848: Bloomers were introduced for the first time at the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

1903: Maurice Garin won the first Tour de France.

1942: Germany withdrew its U-boats from the Atlantic coast of the United States in response to the effective American convoy system.

1943: More than 500 Allied aircraft bombed Rome, Italy, inflicting thousands of casualties.

1952: The 15th Summer Olympics opened in Helsinki, Finland.

1983: The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT scan was published.


July 20


  1807: The first internal combustion engine was patented in France.

  1851: At the Benicia Army station near San Francisco, Calif., troops on the marching ground were rained on by a shower of blood and chunks of beef. No explanation for the event has ever been found.

1903: Ford Motor Co. shipped its first car.

1934: Police in Minneapolis fired upon striking truck drivers during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934, killing two and wounding 67. In Seattle, police fired tear gas and clubbed 2,000 striking longshoremen. Meanwhile, the governor of Oregon called out the National Guard to break a strike on the Portland docks.

1938: The U.S. Justice Department filed suit in New York City against the motion picture industry, charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in regards to the studio system. (The case would eventually result in a break-up of the industry in 1948.) Born this day: actresses Diana Rigg and Natalie Wood (died 1981).

1940: California opened its first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway, connecting Los Angeles with Pasadena.

1944: Adolf Hitler survived an assassination attempt led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who was executed the next day, along with many fellow conspirators.

1960: The Polaris missile was successfully launched from a submerged submarine, the USS George Washington, for the first time.

1968: The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, for about 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin  became the first humans to walk on the moon.

1977: The Central Intelligence Agency released documents under the Freedom of Information Act revealing it had engaged in mind-control experiments with project MKULTRA.

1981: David Allen Kirwan, 24, of La Canada, Calif., dived headfirst into Fountain Paint Pot, a boiling hot spring in Yellowstone National park, to save a dog that had jumped in. He somehow got out of the boiling water and was taken to a burn center in Salt Lake City, where he died the next day. He had third degree burns over 100 percent of his body, including parts that usually escape injury in burn cases: the soles of his feet, his scalp, and his eyeballs.

1990: Violinist Erich Gruenberg’s Stradivarius violin was stolen as he was loading his luggage into a friend’s car at Los Angeles International Airport. (It was recovered in April 1999 in Honduras.)

2012: Deranged gunman James Eagan Holmes opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.


July 21


  1865: Wild Bill Hickok shot and killed Davis Tutt in the market square in Springfield, Mo., in what is regarded as the first Old West showdown.

1873: The Jesse James gang pulled off the first successful train robbery in the Old West.

  1918: German submarine U-156 shelled Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass.

1925: High school biology teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in class in Dayton, Tenn., and fined $100.

1983: The earth’s lowest surface temperature of an inhabited location, minus 129 degrees Fahrenheit, was recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica.

2007: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the fastest-selling novel ever, was published. It sold 15 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release.

2011: NASA’s Space Shuttle program ended with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135. This became the first time since 1961 that the United States had no means to launch astronauts into space.


July 22


  1793: Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean to become the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada.

1934: Outlaw hero John Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents in front of Chicago’s Biograph Cinema.

1942: The U.S. government ordered gasoline rationing for civilians to support the war effort.

1947: Born this day: actor Albert Brooks, and rock singer Don Henley.

1991: Serial murderer/ cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in Milwaukee after police discovered human remains in his apartment.

2003: Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attack a compound in Iraq and killed Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay, along with Mustapha Hussein, Qusay’s 14-year-old son, and a bodyguard.


July 23


  1829: William Austin Burt of Chicago patented the typographer, a precursor to the typewriter.

  1885: Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th U.S. president, died in New York at age 63.

1904: The ice cream cone was invented at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.

1905: Lester LaDuke, 4, was scalded to death in a boiling hot spring just north of Yellowstone National Park.

1926: Fox Film bought the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.

1929: The Fascist government in Italy banned the use of non-Italian words.

1962: Telstar relayed the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

1967: Race riots in Detroit killed 43 and injured 1,189, with 2,000 buildings burned.

  1982: Actor Vic Morrow and child-actor Myca Dinh Le (age 7) were decapitated, and child-actress Renee Shin-Yi Chen (age 6) was crushed, by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie.

1983: Air Canada Flight 143, a Boeing 767-233, ran out of fuel and glided to a landing at Gimli airport, Manitoba.

1984: Vanessa Williams became the first Miss America to resign when she surrendered her crown after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine.

1995: Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered. (It became visible to the naked eye nearly a year later.)

2011: English singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, 27, died in London of an overdose of drug-withdrawal medication, joining The 27 Club.


July 24


  1862: Martin Van Buren, eighth U.S. president (1837-1841), died in Kinderhook, N.Y., at age 79.

1911: Hiram Bingham III re-discovered Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas.”

1935: The Dust Bowl heat wave reached its peak, sending temperatures to 109 degrees F in Chicago and 104 degrees F in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1948: Marc Racicot, former Montana governor, former head of the Republican National Committee and one-time advisor to President George W. Bush, was born in Thompson Falls, Mont. His family moved to Libby, Mont., when he was age 4. He graduated from Libby High School in 1966.

1974: At the height of the Watergate scandal, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and ordered him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. Deborah Gail Stone, 18, an employee at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was crushed to death between a moving wall and a stationary wall inside the revolving America Sings attraction.


July 25


  1837: The first commercial use of an electric telegraph was successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone between Euston and Camden Town in London.

1861: The United States Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, stating that the Civil War was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

1866: Congress passed legislation authorizing the five-star rank of General of the Army. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant became the first to be promoted to this rank.

1920: The first trans-Atlantic two-way radio broadcast took place.

1946: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a comedy team at Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey,

1956: While steaming 45 miles south of Nantucket Island, the Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collided with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sank the next day, killing 51.


1965: Bob Dylan ‘went electric’ as he plugged in at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music. His performance was booed by a large number of spectators.

1976: Viking 1 took the famous photo of the “Face on Mars.”

1978: Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby,” was born.

2010: Wikileaks published classified documents about the war in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history.