August 15


1965: The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York, New York, an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.

1977: The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, received a radio signal from deep space. The event was named the “Wow! signal” from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.


August 16


      1919: The first public swimming race between women athletes was held on Manhattan Beach near Coney Island.

      1939: The last stage performance was held at the Hippodrome vaudeville hall in New York.

1977: Elvis Presley died at age 42 of a drug overdose at his home in Memphis, Tenn.

1989: A solar flare from the Sun created a geomagnetic storm that affected microchips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market.

2010: China surpassed Japan as world’s second-biggest economy.


August 17


1982: The first Compact Discs (CDs) were released to the public in Germany.

2008: American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals in one Olympic Games.


August 18


1868: French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered helium.

1920: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

1969: Actors Christian Slater and Edward Norton were born on this day.


August 19


1946: Born this day: astronaut Gen. Charles Bolden, U.S. Marine Corps, and NASA chief; 42nd President Bill Clinton; Scottish actor Christopher Malcolm (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, died 2014); film producer Dawn Steel (When Harry Met Sally,  died 1997).

1980: Saudia Flight 163, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, burned after making an emergency landing at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing all 287 passengers and 14 crew members on board. (The flight engineer, Bradley Curtis, is buried in the cemetery in Libby, Mont.)


August 20


1833: Benjamin Harrison (23rd president, 1889-1893) was born in North Bend, Ohio.

1858: Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside the same theory presented by Alfred Russel Wallace.

1866: President Andrew Johnson formally declared the American Civil War over.

1910: The “Big Blowup” forest fire burned approximately 3 million acres in northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana for three days starting Aug. 20.

1920: The first commercial radio station, 8MK (now WWJ), began broadcasting in Detroit.

1946: Born this day: journalist Connie Chung (owner of the Flathead Beacon); Laurent Fabius, 158th Prime Minister of France; and German musician Ralf Hütter (Kraftwerk).


August 21


1888: The first successful adding machine was patented by William Seward Burroughs.

1911: The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris. (It was recovered two years later in Italy; the unknown thief was never caught.)

1959: Hawaii was admitted to the union as the 50th state.

1968: The first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine went posthumously to James Anderson Jr. (He had been killed in 1967 in Vietnam.)

1992: The so-called Ruby Ridge Standoff began in Naples, Idaho, when FBI agents attempting to arrest Randy Weaver shot and killed Weaver’s 13-year-old son Samuel and the boy’s dog, Striker. (The siege ended Aug. 31.)


August 22


1654: Jacob Barsimson became the first Jewish immigrant to America when he  arrived in New Amsterdam.

1952: The penal colony on Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana, South America, was permanently closed.

1989: Nolan Ryan became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to record 5,000 strikeouts when he struck out Rickey Henderson.

1992: FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot and killed Vicki Weaver during the 11-day siege of the Weaver home near Naples, Idaho.

2001:  Michael Colombini, a 6-year-old boy from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was struck and killed at Westchester Regional Medical Center by an oxygen tank when it was pulled into the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine while he underwent a test. He had begun to experience breathing difficulties while in the MRI; when an anesthesiologist brought a portable oxygen canister into the magnetic field, it was pulled from his hands and struck the boy in the head.


2007: The ‘Storm’ botnet, created by the Storm worm, sent out a record 57 million emails in one day. The Texas Rangers routed the Baltimore Orioles 30-3, the most runs scored by a team in modern Major League Baseball history.