Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 30, 2012

X-ray image of the remains of SN1006

April 30, 1006: Beginning on this evening and continuing throughout the year and beyond, the brightest supernova in recorded history begins to shine. The “guest star” was seen first in the constellation Lupus. Descriptions of the new star appeared in China, Egypt, Iraq, Japan, Switzerland, and possibly in North America. SN1006 (supernova and the year of discovery) has been classified as a Type la supernova meaning it resulted from a violent explosion of a white dwarf star.

Chinese and Egyptian astronomers left the most complete records for our study. The new object was two-and-a-half to three times larger than the disc of Venus and about one-fourth as bright as the Moon. Observers noted the bright light would contract and then diffuse and sometimes completely extinguish. However, there are reports that the bright light was even visible by day and could cast shadows. Modern astronomers believe those alive at the time would have been able to read by the extra bright light cast by the supernova.

Chinese astronomers (viewing the event from a different longitude) claimed the size was half that of the Moon. The supernova appears to have been observed in two distinct phases. The first three months being the brightest; it then diminished only to return for another eighteen months. There is a petroglyph created by the Hohokam in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park (located in Maricopa county, Arizona) which has been interpreted by modern archeologists to be the representation of this event. Other archaeoastronomers disagree with the interpretation.

In 1965, Sough Milne and Frank Gardner were at the Parkes radio telescope and studying a previously known radio source (PKS 1459-41) near the star Beta Lupi. They examined both x-ray and optical emissions and located the source of  SN 1006. The distance from Earth is ≈ 2.2 kiloParsecs (a kiloParsec is ≈ 19,000 trillion miles or 1.9 x 1016 miles) making the supernova about 7,200 light-years away. The explosion was ≈ 20 parsecs in diameter. There has been no neutron star or black hole found, which is typical for Type la supernovas. The remnant can still be seen in the electromagnetic spectrum and is about 60 light-years across.

Astronomy’s much more fun when you’re not an astronomer. – Brian May

The history of astronomy is a history of receding horizons. – Edwin Powell Hubble

Until very recently, the heavenly bodies have been investigated only with reference to their position and their laws of motion, and a quarter of a century ago astronomy was little more than celestial topography. – George Phillips Bond

We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy. – Simon Newcomb (1835-1909)

Also on this day:

Oh, Hail – In 1888 the deadliest hailstorm in history strikes in India.
Louisiana Purchase – in 1803, President Jefferson bought some land from France.
Father of Our Country – In 1789, George Washington took the Oath of Office and became the first President of the United States.

Tagged with: , ,


Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 29, 2012

Turtle Mountain

April 29, 1903: At 4:10 AM 90 million tons of limestone fell from Turtle Mountain in 90 seconds. Turtle Mountain is located in the Crowsnest River Valley of the Blairmore Range. It is part of the Canadian Rockies and is situated in Alberta, Canada. The Oldman River originates here. It was named in 1880 by a local rancher who thought it looked like a turtle. A small town at the base of the mountain was named after it’s founder, Henry Luplin Frank, in 1901. The landslide is named after the town of Frank which was partially buried by the falling rock. Therefore, the disaster is called the Frank Slide.

Turtle Mountain has a thrust fault running through it with sandstone and shale beneath older limestone. The mountain was unstable due to the erosion of the sandstone and shale and was also destabilized by coal mining within the mountain. There were dramatic and deadly weather conditions where a quick freeze caused further destabilization. The limestone broke away and washed down the face of the mountain. There were about 600 people living in Frank at the time and of those, about 70 were killed.

There were seven miner’s cottages (six inhabited) destroyed in the slide. Also lost were a dairy farm, ranch, shoe store, livery stable, cemetery, ≈ 3 miles of roadway and railroad lines, a construction camp, and all the buildings on the surface associated with the Frank mine. There were three young girls who survived the disaster, riding the slide down or trapped under some rubble. Marion Leitch (15 months old) was thrown from her house onto a pile of hay and survived. Fernie Watkins was found in the debris. And finally Gladys Ennis (27 months old) was found in the mud by her mother. Ennis was the last survivor of the disaster, dying in 1995.

The townspeople were afraid of another landslide and eventually many moved away from Frank – to New Frank. In 1911, a Royal Commission study found the mountain to be unstable and the government ordered all the residents from that section of Frank to relocate. They did so with many moving to Crowsnest Pass or to New Frank. In 2003, 100 years after the disaster, the Premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein, announced funding for a new program to monitor Turtle Mountain. The land is indeed unstable and the mountain remains under watch.

Bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness full of grandeur. – Matthew Arnold

Down below the broad, roaring waves of the sea break against the deep foundation of the rock. But high above the mountain, the sea, and the peaks of rock the eternal ornamentation blooms silently from the dark depths of the universe. – Rudolf Otto

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. – John Lubbock

I like being near the top of a mountain. One can’t get lost here. – Wislawa Szymborska

Also on this day:

What’s the Word? – In 1852 the third most popular book in the world is first published.
Rodney King – In 1992, riots broke out in Los Angeles.
Free, Free at Last – In 1945, Dachau was liberated.

Tagged with: ,

Scully’s Predecessor

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 28, 2012

Aloha Airlines Flight 243 after landing

April 28, 1988: Aloha Airlines Flight 243 takes off from Hilo International Airport with Honolulu as its destination. The aircraft, called Queen Liliuokalani with registration number N737311, left the airport at 1:25 Hawaii-Aleutian time zone. There were 90 passengers and five crew members aboard the Boeing 737-297 plane. The plane was used for short hops between the islands and had made 80,090 flight cycles during the 19 years it had been in use. The pre-flight was uneventful and the plane took off without incident.

By 1:48 the routine flight altitude of 24,000 feet had been reached. The flight was approximately 27 miles south-southeast of Kahului on the island of Maui. Suddenly, a small portion of the left side of the roof ruptured. This allowed for an explosive decompression which tore off the top half of the roof from just behind the cockpit to the fore-wing area. Part of the original design of the 737 was a controlled breakaway zone to alleviate stress in cases of decompression. The age and frequent flight status of the plane created a situation where the rivets had rusted and corroded causing the entire roof to disappear into thin air.

At the time of the event, First Officer Madeline Tompkins’s head was pulled backwards and she could see insulation flying about the cabin. Captain Robert Schornstheimer looked back and saw blue sky where the first class roof should have been. Tompkins called Air Traffic Control with a mayday. Clarabelle Lansing, chief flight attendant, was collecting cups from passengers and was sucked through the hole and died – the only fatality – while Michelle Honda, standing father back in the plane, was thrown to the floor.

Captain Schornstheimer was able to gain control of the plane, no longer aerodynamically stable. He was to land at Kahului Airport, using runway 2. The electrical wiring was severed with the decompression and it was unknown whether the landing gear had been able to descend and lock into place. At 1:58 PM the plane was brought safely to ground and the emergency evacuation slides were activated. There were 65 injuries reported, eight of them serious. Touring vans were used to transport the injured to the local hospital since the island had only two ambulances at the time. The probable cause of the event was metal fatigue.

Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo. – Al Gore

Before marriage, many couples are very much like people rushing to catch an airplane; once aboard, they turn into passengers. They just sit there. – Paul Getty

I was always afraid of dying. Always. It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit. – Chuck Yeager

If you take one rivet out of an airplane, it will be all right, it’ll keep flying. You take another rivet out of the airplane and it still flies. So what the heck, let’s take more rivets out of the airplane, and sooner or later, the airplane drops from the sky. – Ted Danson

Also on this day:

A Voyage to the South Sea – In 1789 the Mutiny on the Bounty takes place.
Kon-Tiki – In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl set sail.
Exposed! – In 1967, Expo 67 opened in Canada.

Expo 67

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 27, 2012

Expo 67

April 27, 1967: The official opening ceremonies for Expo 67 are held on this Thursday afternoon. The invitation-only event was held at Place des Nations with Roland Michener, Governor General of Canada, proclaiming the exhibition was open after Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson lit the Expo flame. Michener had just stepped into the role of Governor General ten days earlier following Georges Vanier’s death. The flame, lit two years earlier at the Canadian Centennial celebrations were brought in by an honor guard of twelve cadets, representing the twelve provinces and territories in Canada at the time.

Attending the ceremonies were more than 7,000 specially invited guests. Most were from the media, however there were also 53 heads of state in the crowds. There were more than 1,000 reporters and the event was broadcast live and in color, via satellite, and reached over 700,000,000 viewers and listeners. The Golden Centennaires, forerunners of today’s Canadian Forces Snowbirds, closed the ceremonies with a fly-by covering the Expo site and the Montreal harbor.

Expo 67 was opened to the public the next day. It has been considered the most successful World Exhibition of the 20th century. There were 62 nations participating and over 50 million people came to the event between April 28 and October 29. A record was set on the third day of the Expo when 569,000 people visited. Like other World’s Fairs or Expos, the buildings were not constructed for a long life. However, they remained opened during summer months until 1981 when they were dismantled after deteriorating beyond safety.  However, a few of the major building were constructed to last and remain in use.

Many famous people came to Expo 67. Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco, Maurice Chevalier, Queen Elizabeth II, Robert Kennedy and his family, Jackie Kennedy, General Charles de Gaulle, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, Billes Vigneault, and US President Lyndon B. Johnson all came to visit. They were treated to the sights and activities in fifteen different major pavilions and 850 total sites.  Construction had begun in 1963 and costs ballooned to $439 million ($2.9 billion today) by 1967. Six months prior to the opening, there were still 6,000 workers finishing their projects. Expo 67 opened on schedule and to the delight of millions.

Set a good example for the world. If you are excellent, if you are of high quality, the world will imitate you. – Albert Schweitzer

Still, Expo is regarded as the best world’s fair ever. Its success changed the world’s view of Canada, and more importantly, it changed the way Canadians viewed themselves. For the first time the country basked in the pride and the glory of its talents and accomplishments. A nation had come of age. – Raj Ahluwalia

When the lights go out for the last time, when the crowds have left the pavilions and the avenues, a World Exhibition begins a new life. Less glittering but more profound, this new life is nourished in the souls of those who visited the Exhibition, and it will blossom into a legend for generations to come. – Pierre Dupuy

We are witnesses today to the fulfillment of one of the most daring acts of faith in Canadian enterprise and ability ever undertaken. That faith was not misplaced. But Expo is much more than a great Canadian achievement of design and planning and construction. It is also a monument to Man. It tells the exciting and inspiring story of a world that belongs not to any one nation but to every nation. –  Lester B. Pearson

Also on this day:

Sultana – In 1865 the steamship Sultana has a boiler explode.
John Milton – In 1667, Paradise Lost was purchased for £5.
Appendectomy – In 1887, the first successful appendectomy was performed.

Tagged with:


Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 26, 2012

Secret State Police of Nazi Germany headquarters

April 26, 1933: The Secret State Police of Nazi Germany is formed. The German name is Genheime Staatspolizei and the name was shortened to Gestapo. When Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Hermann Göring was made Interior Minister of Prussia. As such, Göring was in charge of the largest police force in Germany. He separated out the political and intelligence departments and staffed them with loyal Nazis. He merged the newly staffed departments into the Gestapo and wanted to call it Secret Police Office or Geheimes Polizeiamt (GPA), similar to the Soviet GPU.

The first commander was Göring’s protégé, Rudolf Diels who was a loyal Nazi Party official as well as commander of the Luftwaffe. Wilhelm Frick, Reich Interior Minister, wanted to join all the German police forces under one banner in late 1933. Göring ousted him and by 1934 Göring himself was in charge of the Gestapo. Göring wanted Hitler to give him control over the secret police in all of Germany. Heinrich Himmler, police chief in Bavaria (second most powerful state in Germany) was against the plan. Frick allied himself with Himmler and also with Reinhard Heydrich. With other forces conspiring against them, they all agreed to work together.

On April 20, 1934 Göring handed over control of the Gestapo to Himmler and by June  1936 Himmler was chief of all German police. The Gestapo merged with the SIPO or Sicherheilspolizie and with the Kripo or Kriminalpolizel (Criminal Police) with all of them under the SS or Schutzstaffel, Hedrick became the head of the SIPO (Gestapo and Kripo) and the SD or Sicherheitsdienst or Security Service. Heinrich Müller was chief of operations of the Gestapo and answered only to Heydrich, who reported to Himmler, directly under Hitler.

The Gestapo was responsible for investigating cases involving treason, espionage, and sabotage. They looked into attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany. By 1936 laws were passed by the government giving the Gestapo a free hand with no oversight by any judicial bodies. They were specifically exempt from administrative courts where citizens could sue for their breach of legal proceedings. They were responsible for many crimes against humanity and the 46,000 members of the secret police struck fear into even law abiding citizens.

Freedom is when one hears the bell at seven o’clock in the morning and knows it is the milkman and not the Gestapo. – Georges Bidault

To put the point sharply: If an informer in the French underground who sent a friend to the torture chambers of the Gestapo was equally a victim, then there can be no right or wrong in life that I understand. – Albert Maltz

With the opening of the eastern European archives, the role of the police battalions and the Gestapo in the extermination of the Jews in eastern Europe has become much clearer. – Norbert Kampe

It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.  – Adolf Hitler

Also on this day:

Chernobyl – In 1986 there is a nuclear disaster in the Chernobyl power plant.
John Wilkes Booth – In 1865, the actor was found and killed.
Tanzania – In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged.

Rebellion Losses Bill

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 25, 2012

Lord James Bruce Elgin

April 25, 1849: The Rebellion Losses Bill is signed into law by Lord James Bruce Elgin. The British colony, the Province of Canada (sometimes called the United Province of Canada) was formed in 1841 after recommendations by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham. Lambton was James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin’s grandfather. By 1849, James Bruce was the Governor General of Canada, or viceregal representative and ruler of Canada under Queen Victoria.

The purpose of the bill was to recompense those citizens of Lower Canada who lost property during the Rebellions of 1837. This was a series of confrontations held in Quebec with the United Kingdom facing forces called Patriotes along with US Patriot sympathizers. French Canadians wished for more say in their governance and when that failed, they cried for autonomy and freedom from British rule. Inspired by the American Revolution, they took up arms against the British Empire. They failed. Lower and Upper Canada were united in 1841.

On February 28, 1845 the Legislative Assembly unanimously asked for Governor Metcalfe to begin measures to pay those who lost properties during the twelve month struggle. In a previous session, £40,000 had been set aside, but there were no funds available. Claims rose to £241,965 and change. The bill would pay French Canadians, much to the dismay of English Canadians. It was thought the bill would not pass, but it did. Then it was felt Lord Elgin would refuse to sign it, but he signed. The Liberal government in London approved of the measures.

The citizens of Montreal began to protest almost immediately. The Britons felt threatened by the French influence in control of the government of the colony. Montreal, the capital city, was half French and half British. The upset citizens erupted into a furious mob and began to riot. They grabbed the Golden Mace, a symbol of British Royalty and carried it into the street. The crowd pelted Lord Elgin’s carriage with stones and rotten eggs. They burned the Parliament Building and destroyed not only the structure, but rare paintings and the archival records from the beginning of the colony. They fire caused damages listed at £100,000. It took days to get the rioting under control.

Any people attempting to govern themselves by laws of their own making, and by officers of their own appointment, are in direct rebellion against the kingdom of God. – Orson Pratt

Break up the printing presses and you break up rebellion. – Dudley Nichols

Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. – Albert Camus

It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause. – H. L. Mencken

Also on this day:

“Off With Their Heads” – The Queen of Hearts – In 1792 the first person is executed by the more humane method of guillotine.
Semiconductor – In 1961, Robert Noyce patented the semiconductor and opened the computer age.
Ouch! –  In 1684, a patent was granted for a thimble.

Looking Outward

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 24, 2012

Hubble Space Telescope

April 24, 1990: STS-31, the thirty-fifth mission of the Space Shuttle program lifts off at 8:33:51 AM. The Space Shuttle Discovery rose into the sky from launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The five person crew was led by Commander Loren J. Shriver with Charles F. Bolden, Jr. piloting the craft. Steven A. Hawley, Bruce McCandless II, and Kathryn D. Sullivan completed the crew. John Young had originally been assigned to command the mission but was reassigned to an administrative position after the Challenger disaster four years earlier.

The original launch schedule, April 18, was moved to several different dates while the Flight Readiness Review oversaw preparations. The date moved to April 10 and was scrubbed four minutes prior to launch. The Discovery took off for her tenth mission with a 249,109 pound payload. The purpose of the mission was to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) which was accomplished the next day. The telescope is still changing astronomy and sending home miraculous pictures as well as scientific data.

It is frequently asked if the telescope can be used to take pictures of Earth. The telescope is orbiting 347 miles above the Earth, making one orbit every 96-97 minutes. HST is traveling at 25,000 feet per second and takes 0.1 seconds for the shortest exposure possible. That means the Hubble moves nearly 2,300 feet while taking a picture. The resulting image of the planetary surface would be nothing more than a blur. The telescope was designed to track distant stars, not the planetary surface.

The telescope has shown us the part of the sky we thought was empty isn’t as vacant as previously surmised. The detail in the pictures, a conglomeration from four separate cameras, gives astronomers more information to work with. They have dated the age of the Universe to ≈ 13 or 14 billion years old. They have found something called “dark energy” – a still mysterious force causing the expanding Universe to accelerate. Scientists have been able to observe all stages of evolution for galaxies. There have been more than 6,000 articles written using data sent back from the HST.

Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another. – Plato

From our home on Earth, we look out into the distances and strive to imagine the sort of world into which we were born. With increasing distance our knowledge fades until at the last dim horizon we search among ghostly errors for landmarks scarcely more substantial. The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be suppressed. – Edwin P. Hubble

When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system. – Laurel Clark

Those who study the stars have God for a teacher. – Tycho Brahe

Also on this day:

Greeks Bearing Gifts – In 1184 BC the Greeks bring a gift to Troy.
Soyuz 1 – In 1967, the first space fatality occurred.
Hershey’s Park – In 1907, Hersheypark opened.

Mississippi Burning

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 23, 2012

Rhythm Night Club

April 23, 1940: The Rhythm Night Club catches fire in Natchez, Mississippi. The club was a venue for African-Americans. The one story building was originally a church and then a blacksmith shop. The address of 1 St. Catherine Street was just blocks outside the city’s business district. At the time of the fire, it was the second deadliest fire after the Iroquois Theater Fire (December 30, 1903 in Chicago). Since that time, the Cocoanut Grove fire (November 28, 1942 in Boston) left 492 dead in the wake of a devastating fire.

At 11:30 PM, a blaze broke out near the front door (and only exit). Walter Barnes and His Royal Creolians, an orchestra from Chicago, was playing at the time. The windows were boarded over to prevent outsiders from peeking in and also to dampen the sound so those outside the club weren’t able to listen to the music from within. The club was decorated with Spanish moss hanging from the rafters. This dry material quickly ignited and spread the flames even faster. It also produced a deadly, flammable methane gas. The entire club burned in an hour.

There were 209 killed in the fire and many more patrons were injured. Most of the people inside were killed by either smoke inhalation or by the crush of people attempting to flee. Barnes, at the time of the incident, was being favorably compared to Duke Ellington and Woody Herman. He and nine other members of the orchestra were killed in the fire. Three members of the group survived. Walter Brown, the drummer, vowed to never play again. When firefighters arrived, the building was fully involved. They found the dead piled on top of one another, but heard sounds beneath the carnage. As they peeled away the dead, under the crush were survivors, suffering both burns and crush injuries.

There was some speculation the fire was intentionally set. There had been some disgruntled patrons who in a drunken rage had threatened to burn the building down. They were arrested and eventually released with charges dropped. It is thought the fire may have started with carelessly discarded cigarette butts. The city of Natchez raised $5,000 (≈ $77,400 in 2009 USD) to help the local Red Cross deal with the disaster. New fire laws were also instituted, limiting over crowding in buildings. The disaster was memorialized by many musicians and there is a marker erected in Natchez’s Bluff Park.

I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, ‘You’re gonna have to move, you’re blocking a fire exit.’ As though if there was a fire, I wasn’t gonna run. If you’re flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit. – Mitch Hedberg

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. – Robert Frost

Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course. – George Bernard Shaw

Whenever our neighbor’s house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for the engines to play a little on our own. – Edmund Burke

Also on this day:

The Bard of Avon – In 1616 William Shakespeare dies.
Boston Latin School – In 1635, the first public school in America (still open) was founded.
Lights, Camera, Action – In 1867, a patent for a zoetrope was granted.

Remember the Alamo

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 22, 2012

Antonia de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron

April 22, 1836: The Texas forces under Sam Houston capture Santa Anna. Antonia de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron was a Mexican political leader, on and off president of Mexico, and General leading the troops against the Texans fighting a war of Independence. Texas was under Mexican control when hostilities broke out on October 2, 1835. The American settlers were not happy with the Mexican rule of Coahuila y Tejas. The Siete Leyes (Seven Laws) of 1835 saw Santa Anna (then President) abolishing the Constitution of 1824, a representative government offering the ruled a voice in their leadership.

The Seven Laws were unpopular throughout Mexico and several of the United Mexican States resorted to violence. The Battle of Gonzales began the Texans’ War of Independence. By March 2, 1836, Texas had declared itself independent of Mexican rule. On March 6, the Battle of El Alamo (from the Mexican perspective) was ended with the Texans suffering a crushing defeat. The Alamo was taken and every American rebel was killed. Even the Texans who had surrendered were killed as the order came to take no prisoners. Davy Crockett and James Bowie both died in the attack. The Goliad Massacre (March 27) also resulted in 350 Texans killed.

The battle of San Jacinto was fought on April 21. General Sam Houston defeated the Mexican forces numbering 1,360. The 910 Texans were waiting for Santa Anna’s troops to attack. Instead of allowing them to rest, the Texans took the lead and attacked with an outflanking maneuver interrupting the Mexicans taking their afternoon siesta (with no guards posted). At 4:30 PM, Vince’s Bridge was burned and the Texans silently advanced through the woods and surprised Santa Anna’s troops. There were only nine Texans killed with 23 more wounded. The Mexican forces had 630 killed, 208 wounded, and 730 captured.

Santa Anna escaped and was found hiding in a marsh, wearing a dragoon private’s uniform on this date. He was taken to acting Texas President, David G. Burnet and eventually the Treaties of Velasco were signed by both men. Santa Anna was held for months before being transported back to Mexico. The new government there failed to recognize the treaty signed by their ex-President. There were two treaties, one formal with ten points, and a second secret treaty with seven points. Eventually a pact was reached later in the year marking the border between the two combatants at the Rio Grande.

Texas, to be respected must be polite. Santa Anna living, can be of incalculable benefit to Texas; Santa Anna dead, would just be another dead Mexican. – Sam Houston

When a general is given command of an army and everything that is necessary is furnished to him and placed at his disposal, he should be held strictly responsible if he departs from the established rules of war. The government has said, and with truth, that all the resources at its command were placed at my disposal in this campaign, but these being so few, could it have given me many? – Santa Anna

History does not teach fatalism. There are moments when the will of a handful of free men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads. – Charles de Gaulle

Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have. – Harry Emerson Fosdick

Also on this day:

One Ringy-Dingy – In 2000 the UK updates the phone system.
Earth Day – In 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated.
Oklahoma Land Run – In 1889, land in Oklahoma was parceled out in a land run.

Seattle’s Best

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 21, 2012

The Seattle World's Fair

April 21, 1962: The Century 21 Exposition opens in Seattle. It was the first World’s Fair held in the US since World War II. Almost ten million people attended the exposition between April 21 and October 21 and the fair actually turned a profit. The exposition left behind a large fairground, numerous public buildings and the amazing Space Needle – seen in most skyline pictures of Seattle since. The Alweg monorail and several sports venues were also products of the World’s Fair. Seattle Center has grown slightly since and contains the Pacific Science Center and the Experience Music Project built 40 years later was designed to fit in with the scenery.

It was hoped to have the World’s Fair up and running for the 50th anniversary of Alaska joining the Union. However, with the Space Race taking up so much funding, it became impossible. Instead, the date was moved three years into the future creating a futuristic theme for the fair, as well. Boeing wanted to put Seattle on the map as “an aerospace city.” It was also hoped the US could show the USSR that we were not so far behind in the reach for the stars. Ewen Dingwall, Project Manager, went to Moscow to offer the Soviet government a chance to participate, but the invitation was declined.

President Kennedy was to attend the closing ceremonies, but he begged off with a “cold.” The Cold War had intervened and the Cuban Missile Crisis was taking up his attention. The fairgrounds were divided into several different areas with Worlds created for different genres: Science, Tomorrow, Commerce and Industry, Art, Entertainment, and many more. The Fair also had rides available. The Monorail, which still survives was partnered with the Skyride with cars riding on cables as high as 60 feet above ground.

During the months the fair was open, ≈ 20,000 people per day rose to the top of the Space Needle with 2.3 million people visiting the attraction. It is 605 feet high (with the aircraft beacon) and 138 feet wide (at its widest point). When it was finished, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. It was built to withstand winds of 200 mph and earthquakes measuring up to 9.1 in magnitude. There are 25 lightning rods on the roof, protecting it from lightning damage. The observation deck is at 520 feet and there is a gift shop and the rotating SkyCity restaurant is 20 feet lower.

Seattle isn’t really crazy anymore. It’s a big dot-com city. – Krist Novoselic

I grew up in Seattle, but I always knew I wanted to leave. – David Guterson

As far as the grunge thing, there are three bands from Seattle that I would call true grunge. – Adam Jones

My wife and I just prefer Seattle. It’s a beautiful city. Great setting. You open your front door in the morning and the air smells like pine and the sea, as opposed to bus exhaust. – Ron Reagan

Also on this day:

Snoopy v. The Red Baron – In 1918 The Red Baron loses a dogfight.
Rome – In 753 BC, Romulus and Remus founded Rome.
Henry VIII – In 1509, Henry became King of England.