1902: The congregation of Shiloh Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., stampeded to the exit, thinking the church on fire, trampling or suffocating 115 people to death.
1952: The United States barred actor/producer Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England. Chaplin moved to Switzerland and never returned.
1982: Computer scientist Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 🙁 on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System.
1991: Ötzi the Iceman, a naturally mummified man who lived 3,300 years ago, was discovered in the Alps by German tourists.
2003: Hurricane Isabel caused a rain of frog eggs in Berlin, Conn. The eggs came from North Carolina.
1973: Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match.
2001: In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror.”
2005: Richard Sumner, a British artist suffering from schizophrenia, went into a remote section of Clocaenog Forest in Denbighshire, Wales, handcuffed himself to a tree and threw the keys out of his reach. His skeleton was discovered three years later. There were signs that he may have later changed his mind.
1912: Bugs Bunny animator Chuck Jones was born in Spokane, Wash.
1937: “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkein was first published.
1968: Singer Jeannie C. Riley became the first female performer to top the Billboard Country and Pop charts simultaneously, with “Harper Valley P.T.A.”
1981: Sandra Day O’Connor was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
1862: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in only the Confederate States of America.
1888: The first issue of National Geographic magazine was published.
1994: The television sitcom Friends, about six young adults living in New York City, debuted on NBC.
2011: Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced their discovery of neutrinos breaking the speed of light.
1846: German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune while working at the Berlin Observatory.
1909: The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantôme de l’Opéra), a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois.
1939: Psychologist Sigmund Freud died in London.
2010: A group of chefs at Harrah’s Fulton Square in New Orleans set a world record when they made a 2,469-pound macaroni and cheese as a fundraiser for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, The Magnolia School, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans.
1789: The U.S. Congress passed the Judiciary Act which created the office of the U.S. Attorney General and the federal judiciary system, and ordered the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States.
1890: The Mormon church officially renounced polygamy.
1906: President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devil’s Tower in Wyoming the nation’s first national monument.
1935: The first outdoor rodeo under electric lights was held in Columbia, Miss.
1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce desegregation.
1960: USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News, Va.
1968: The CBS news program 60 Minutes debuted.
1890: Congress established Sequoia National Park in California.
1906: Leonardo Torres Quevedo successfully demonstrated the invention of the ‘Telekino’ in the port of Bilbao, Spain, guiding a boat from the shore, in what is considered the birth of the remote control.
1911: Ground was broken for Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.
1929: Aviation pioneer Jimmy Doolittle performed the first “blind flight” from Mitchel Field near Garden City, N.Y., proving that full instrument flying from takeoff to landing is possible.
1956: The first transatlantic telephone cable began operating between Newfoundland and Scotland.
1978: PSA Flight 182, a Boeing 727-214, collided in mid-air with a Cessna 172 and crashed in San Diego, California, killing 144 people.