This Week in History

February 2

  1653: New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) was incorporated.
1887: The first Groundhog Day was observed, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
1914: Charlie Chaplin made his first film appearance in the movie Making a Living.
1925: Dog sleds reached Nome, Alaska, with diphtheria serum from Anchorage, inspiring the Iditarod race.
1935: Leonarde Keeler (1903-1949) tested the first polygraph machine, in Los Angeles, Calif.
1969: Actor Boris Karloff, most famous for his portrayal as Frankenstein’s monster, died in Midhurst, Sussex, England, at age 81.

February 3

1690: The British colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in the Americas.
1870: The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing voting rights to citizens regardless of race.
1913: The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, authorizing the federal government to impose and collect an income tax.
1947: The lowest temperature in North America, minus 83.0 degrees F (63.9 degrees C) , was recorded in Snag, Yukon, Canada.
1966: The first rocket-assisted landing on the Moon occurred when the unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft landed.
1984: A research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center performed the world’s first embryo transfer, from one woman to another, resulting in a live birth.
1995: Astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle as mission STS-63 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

February 4

1789: George Washington was unanimously elected first president of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College, in the only unanimous electoral vote to date.
1846: The first Mormon pioneers left from Nauvoo, Ill., headed west toward their then-unknown destination of the Salt Lake Valley.
1861: Delegates from six seceded U.S. states met in Montgomery, Ala., and formed the traitorous Confederate States of America.
1902: Aviation pioneer Charles Augustus Lindberg was born in Detroit.
1912: Franz Reichelt, tailor, fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, the overcoat parachute. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute.
1941: The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in Arlington, Va., to entertain American troops.
2004: Facebook, an online social networking site, was launched by self-described hacker and thief Mark Zuckerberg.

February 5

1869: The largest alluvial gold nugget in history, called the “Welcome Stranger” weighing 3,123 ounces, was found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia.
1887: San Francisco received 3 feet 7 inches of snow.
1909: Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announced that he had created Bakelite (BAY-kə-lyt), the world’s first synthetic plastic.
1919: Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists.
1924: The Royal Greenwich Observatory began broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips.”
1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a plan to enlarge the Supreme Court of the United States so he could pack it with justices who supported his policies. (The plan was defeated.)
1945: Gen. Douglas MacArthur honored his promise made two years earlier and returned to the Philippines.
1958 A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Savannah, Ga., by the U.S. Air Force and never recovered.
1976: The 1976 swine flu outbreak began at Fort Dix, N.J.
1985: Ugo Vetere, then-mayor of Rome, Italy, and Chedli Klibi, then-mayor of Carthage, Tunisia, met in Tunis to sign a treaty officially ending the Third Punic War, which lasted 2,131 years.

February 6

1789: Massachusetts ratified the U.S. Constitution.
1815: New Jersey granted the first American railroad charter to Col. John Stevens III, inventor who built the first steam locomotive.
1843: The first minstrel show in the United States, The Virginia Minstrels, opened at Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.
1952: Elizabeth II became queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.
1959: Jack Kilby (1923-2005) of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit.
1978: The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor’easters in New England history, hit the region, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour.
1988: Michael Jordan made his first slam dunk from the free throw line, inspiring Air Jordan and the Jumpman logo.
1998: Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport.


February 7

1497: The bonfire of the vanities occurred in which supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burned thousands of objects such as cosmetics, art and books in Florence, Italy.
1935: The board game Monopoly was invented.
1940: The second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premiered.
1962: The United States banned all Cuban imports and exports.
1964: The Beatles first arrived in the United States. Their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show two days later marked the beginning of the British Invasion.
1979: Pluto moved inside Neptune’s orbit for the first time since either was discovered.

February 8

1587: Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed on suspicion of having been involved in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.
1693: The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., was granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.
1802: Simon Willard was granted a patent for the banjo clock.
1910: The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated by William D. Boyce.
1922: President Warren G. Harding brought the first radio into the White House.
1924: The first state execution in the United States by gas chamber took place in Nevada.
1952: Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom.
1960: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issued an Order-in-Council, stating that she and her family would be known as the House of Windsor, and that her descendants will take the name “Mountbatten-Windsor.” The first eight brass star plaques were installed in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1963: The first publicly advertised full-color television program in the world was broadcast in Mexico City by XHGC-TV, Channel 5, due to technical breakthrough advances made by Mexican Engineer Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena.
1965: Wayne Estes, a graduate of Anaconda High School in Anaconda, Mont., as well as a star basketball player for Utah State University and a presumed NBA draft pick, was electrocuted when he and a teammate stopped to help at a nighttime car wreck. Estes brushed against a downed power line and died instantly.
1993: General Motors sued NBC after Dateline NBC allegedly rigged two crashes intended to demonstrate that some GM pickups can easily catch fire if hit in certain places. (NBC settled the lawsuit the next day.)
2013: A blizzard disrupted transportation and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern U.S. and parts of Canada.


February 2

Each year on Groundhog Day, people flock to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to await the forecast of a local rodent
celebrity named Punxsutawney Phil.

February 3

February 4
It is sweet, available in a myriad of flavors, and can be blown into

February 5
This day is celebrated on the birthday of John Jeffries, one of the first weather observers to take daily measurements back in 1774.

February 6

People in China have been deftly using chopsticks since 1200 B.C. where they were first used to cook before they became a popular tool with which to eat across East Asia. Every time you use a chopstick to eat, you engage over 50 different joints and muscles.

February 7
On this day, we celebrate and glorify the periodic table and its scientists in being the critical building elements for the continuing discoveries in science.


    February 8
Founded in 1910, by American W.D. Boyce, the Boy Scouts of America has helped shape many of our nation’s leaders.