.1882: The world’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wis.
1888: Jack the Ripper killed his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.
1901: Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.
1907: McKinley National Memorial, final resting place of assassinated U.S. President William McKinley and his family, was dedicated in Canton, Ohio.
1927: Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a season.
1935: Hoover Dam, on the border between Arizona and Nevada, was dedicated. Born this day: singers Z. Z. Hill (died 1984), and Johnny Mathis.
1947: The World Series, featuring the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, was televised for the first time.
1954: The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus was commissioned as the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel.
1996: Congress passed an Amendment that bars the possession of firearms for people who were convicted of domestic violence, even misdemeanor level.
2004: The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.
2008 Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, Singaporean opposition leader and former Secretary-General of Singapore’s Worker’s Party, dies at 82
2008 Christa Reinig, German poet and writer (Idleness is the Root of All Love, The Tightrope Walker), dies at 82
2010 Stephen J. Cannell, American TV producer (The Rockford Files, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street) and writer, dies of melanoma at 69
2010 Patrick Holmes Sellors, British ophthalmologist, dies at 76
2011 Anwar al-Awlaki, American-born terrorist and islamist militant (b. 1971)
2014 Martin Lewis Perl, American physicist & Nobel Laureate, dies from a heart attack at 87
1811: The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1938: Germany annexed the Sudentenland of Czechoslovakia, pushing Europe closer to World War II.
1940: The Pennsylvania Turnpike, considered the first superhighway in the United States, opened.
1946: Mensa International was founded in London.
1947: Born this day: game designer Dave Arneson (co-created Dungeons & Dragons, died 2009); actor Stephen Collins (7th Heaven); and English singer-songwriter and bass player Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash).
1948: Lt. George Gorman of the North Dakota Air National Guard chased an unidentified flying object for 30 minutes in his F-51 Mustang fighter plane near Hector Airport in Fargo, N.D.
1975: Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila, Philippines, the “Thrilla in Manila.” Musician Al Jackson Jr. (Booker T. & the M.G.s), was fatally shot five times in the back by a burglar at his home in Memphis, Tenn., after returning home from a nightclub screening of the “Thrilla in Manila.”
1979: President Jimmy Carter signed papers giving ownership of the Panama Canal to Panama.
1982: Sony launched the first compact disc player for consumers.
1989: Denmark introduced the world’s first legal same-sex civil union, called “registered partnership.”
1992: The Cartoon Network began broadcasting.
2013: The U.S. federal government shut down non-essential services after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives refused to pass a budget.
2015 Don Edwards, American politician and civil rights champion (Rep-D-CA, 1963-94), dies at 100
2017 Samuel I Newhouse Jr., American magazine publisher (Parade, Vogue, Vanity Fair), dies at 89
2017 Arthur “Art” Janov, American psychologist and psychotherapist notable for creating primal therapy (The Primal Scream), dies of natural causes at 93
1780: British Army Major John André, 30, was hanged by American forces as a spy for assisting Benedict Arnold’s attempted surrender of the fort at West Point, New York, to the British.
1789: George Washington sent the proposed constitutional amendments (The U.S. Bill of Rights) to the states for ratification.
1919: Twenty-eighth President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed.
1925: John Logie Baird performed the first test of a working television system at his laboratory in London, England.
1937: Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of all Haitians living within the country’s borderlands with Haiti. Approximately 20,000 people were killed over the next five days in what became known as the Parsley Massacre.
1948: Born this day: actor Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Spenser for Hire); fashion designer Donna Karan (founded DKNY); country singer Chris LeDoux (“Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy,” died 2005).
1950: Charles M. Schulz’ cartoon Peanuts debuted.
1959: Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS television.
1968: Mexican soldiers in Mexico City killed dozens, possibly hundreds, of peaceful protestors and bystanders in what became know as the Tlatelolco Massacre.
2002: The Beltway sniper attacks began, extending over three weeks.
1535: The first complete English-language Bible (the Coverdale Bible) was printed in London, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale.
1582: Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian Calendar, so that in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year was followed by October 15.
1822: Rutherford Birchard Hayes (19th U.S. president, 1877-1881) was born in Delaware, Ohio.
1876: Texas A&M University opened, becoming the first public institution of higher education in Texas.
1916: Born this day: actor Jan Murray (History of the World, Part I, died 2006), and director George Sidney (The Harvey Girls, The Three Musketeers, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Pal Joey, and Viva Las Vegas, died 2002).
1918: An explosion destroyed the T.A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant in Sayreville, N.J., and killed over 100 people. (Fires and explosions continued for three days, forcing extensive evacuations and spreading ordnance over a wide area, pieces of which were still being found as of 2007.)
1927: Gutzon Borglum began sculpting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
1957: The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. Leave It To Beaver premiered on CBS.
1963: Hurricane Flora killed 6,000 people in Cuba and Haiti.
1965: Pope Paul VI arrived in New York to become the first Pope to visit the United States of America and the Western hemisphere.
1970: Blues-rock singer Janis Joplin died of a probable heroin overdose in Los Angeles at age 27.
1986: William J. Tesinsky, 38, of Great Falls, Mont., was killed and eaten by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Rangers recovered his legs, pelvis and scalp.
1988: U.S. televangelist Jim Bakker was indicted for fraud.
1997: The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history occurred in Charlotte, N.C., at the office of Loomis, Fargo and Company, when $17.3 million was stolen. (An FBI investigation eventually resulted in 24 convictions; approximately 95 percent of the stolen cash was recovered.)
1849: American author Edgar Allan Poe was found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore, Md., under mysterious circumstances. It was the last time he was seen in public before his death four days later. (Author John Evangelist Walsh theorized in his book, Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, St. Martins Press, copyright 2000, that Poe died after he was ambushed, poisoned with alcohol, drugged, and beaten by the brothers of a wealthy widow to whom Poe was engaged to wed on Oct. 17.
1903: Dr. Horatio Nelson, the first man to drive across the American continent in an automobile, was arrested in Burlington, Vt., and fined $5 plus court costs, for driving his car faster than 6 mph.
2003 William Steig, American cartoonist and children’s author (Shrek!, Doctor De Soto), dies at 95
2006 Alberto Ramento, Filipina bishop (b. 1937)
2006 John Crank, British mathematician (b. 1913)
2006 Peter Norman, Australian track star (b. 1942)
2007 M.N. Vijayan, Indian writer, orator, and academic
2008 Karam ud Din, Pakistani Navy officer (b. 1941)
2009 Queen Fatima, former Libyan queen (b. 1918)
2010 Abraham Sarmiento, Sr., Filipino Supreme Court jurist (1987-91), dies at 88
2015 Denis Healey, English politician (Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer), dies at 98
1786: The so-called Pumpkin Flood on the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers washed away most of the pumpkin crop.
1829: Chester Alan Arthur (21st U.S. president, 1881-1885) was born in Fairfield, Va.
1857: The city of Anaheim, Calif., was founded.
1877: Chief Joseph surrendered his Nez Perce band to Gen. Nelson A. Miles in Montana near the Canadian border.
1902: Born this day: actor Larry Fine (‘Larry’ of The Three Stooges, died 1975), and McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc (died 1984).
1905: Wilbur Wright flew the Wright Flyer III 24 miles over Dayton, Ohio, in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908. Born this day: actor John Hoyt (Desperately Seeking Susan, Spartacus, Blackboard Jungle, died 1991); and actress Harriet E. MacGibbon (‘Mrs. Drysdale’ in the CBS sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, died 1987).
1910: The monarchy of Portugal was overthrown in a revolution and a republic was declared.
1919: Born this day: English actors Robin Bailey (Rumpole of the Bailey, died 1999), and Donald Pleasence (The Eagle Has Landed, Escape to Witch Mountain, You Only Live Twice, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Great Escape, died 1995).
1921: The World Series was broadcast over radio for the first time.
1924: Born this day: actor and writer Bill Dana (‘Jose Jimenez’); Canadian actress Barbara Kelly (What’s My Line, died 2007); and cartoonist Bob Thaves (Frank and Ernest, died 2006).
1934: Born this day: Canadian diplomat Kenneth D. Taylor (hero during 1979 Iran hostage crisis), and serial murderer Angelo Buono Jr. (died 2002).
1957: Born this day: attorney Mark Geragos (defended Michael Jackson), and actor, producer, and screenwriter Bernie Mac (The Original Kings of Comedy, The Bernie Mac Show, Ocean’s Eleven, died 2008).
1959: Born this day: architect Maya Lin (designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Civil Rights Memorial); and singer-songwriter and guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps (Roll Away the Stone).
1539: Spanish conquest for Hernando de Soto and his army entered the Apalachee capital of Anhaica (present-day Tallahassee, Florida) by force.
1600: Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, the earliest surviving opera, premiered in Florence, Italy, signifying the beginning of the Baroque period
1683: German immigrants founded Germantown in the colony of Pennsylvania, becoming the first major immigration of German people to America.
1927: The Jazz Singer, the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue, was released, heralding the commercial ascendance of ‘talkies’ and the decline of the silent-film era.
1945: “The Curse of the Billy Goat” was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs when Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, and his pet billy goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series because some fans complained about the goat’s odor. Outraged, Sianis angrily declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” which has been interpreted to mean that there would never be another World Series game won at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have not won a National League pennant since this incident and have not won a World Series since 1908.
1963: Born this day: actor Jsu Garcia (Nightmare on Elm Street), and actress Elisabeth Shue (Karate Kid, Back to the Future Part II).
1979: Pope John Paul II became the first pope to visit the White House.
1981: Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
1995: The sun-like star 51 Pegasi was discovered to be the second major star apart from the sun to have a planet orbiting around it.
2007: English adventurer Jason Lewis completed the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe.
2012: A world record was set when 249 combines in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, reaped 200 acres of oats in 12 minutes.
2014: Teresa Romero, 44, a nurse in Madrid, Spain, became the first person in the world to contract the deadly Ebola virus outside of western Africa. (She contracted it while treating two missionaries who had been flown home to Spain after contracting the disease in West Africa. She made a full recovery.)