This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, January 02, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1917, a fire wiped out much of the business district in Valdez.

• In 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower approved the new 49-star American flag design, with the 49th star for Alaska.

• In 1966, St. Michael's Greek-Russian Orthodox Church was destroyed by a fire that wiped out much of Sitka's business district.

• In 1969, an early-morning fire destroyed the broadcast facilities and the record library of KIFW-AM in Sitka.

• In 1979, Sohio Petroleum was given the go-ahead to build a gravel island near Prudhoe Bay for a drilling pad. An injunction request, made by the city of Barrow and villages of Kaktovik and Nuisqut, was turned down. An Anchorage pilot and passenger landed safely near Stony River, Lake Clark Pass, when their Cessna ran out of gas and descended through clouds. They spent the night in a cabin. Falling bear populations in Southeast Alaska indicated to some a possible need to cut back hunting.

In the nation

• In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

• In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay announced the "Open Door Policy" to facilitate trade with China.

• In 1921, religious services were broadcast on radio for the first time as KDKA in Pittsburgh aired the regular Sunday service of the city's Calvary Episcopal Church.

• In 1935, Bruno Hauptmann went on trial in Flemington, N.J., on charges of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was found guilty, and executed.)

• In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

• In 1965, the New York Jets signed University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath for a reported $400,000.

• In 1974, President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph (however, federal speed limits were abolished in 1995).

• In 1997, rain and melting snow swamped the West, trapping visitors in Yosemite National Park, closing casinos in Reno, Nev., and forcing the evacuation of 50,000 Californians.

• In 2002, the No. 5 Florida Gators crushed No. 6 Maryland 56-23 in the Orange Bowl.

• In 2006, a methane gas explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia claimed the lives of 12 miners, but one miner, Randal McCloy Jr., was eventually rescued. No. 4 Ohio State beat No. 5 Notre Dame 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl.

In the world

• In 1492, Muhammad XI, the sultan of Granada, the last Arab stronghold in Spain, surrendered to Spanish forces.

• In 1929, the United States and Canada reached agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.

• In 1942, the Philippine capital of Manila was captured by Japanese forces during World War II.

• In 2002, the new Afghan government confirmed that American bombs had killed the Taliban's intelligence chief (Qari Ahmadullah). Eduardo Duhalde was sworn in as Argentina's president.

• In 2006, the roof of a skating rink collapsed in the German town of Bad Reichenhall, killing 15 people.

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