In 1874, poet Robert Service was born.
In 1908, Silas M. Reid succeeded James Wickersham as U.S. District judge for the Third Judicial Division.
In 1918, the first movie shown at the Perseverance Mine in Juneau was a big hit as 165 watched "The Patriot" with William S. Hart.
In 1945, Thomas Riggs, Jr., Alaska's territorial governor from 1918 to 1921, died.
In 1980, the one-billionth barrel of Prudhoe Bay oil arrived in Valdez.
In the nation
In 1883, the U.S. Civil Service Commission was established.
In 1919, Nebraska, Wyoming and Missouri became the 36th, 37th and 38th states to ratify Prohibition, which went into effect a year later.
In 1920, Prohibition began in the United States as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect. (It was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.)
In 1964, the musical "Hello, Dolly!" opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances.
In 1967, Alan S. Boyd was sworn in as the first secretary of transportation.
In 1978, NASA named 35 candidates to fly on the space shuttle, including Sally K. Ride, who became America's first woman in space, and Guion S. Bluford Jr., who became America's first black astronaut in space.
In 1995, in Union, S.C., a prosecutor announced he would seek the death penalty for Susan Smith, the woman accused of drowning her two young sons, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex. (Smith was later convicted of murder, but was sentenced to life in prison.)
In 2004, pop star Michael Jackson pleaded innocent to child molestation charges during a court appearance in Santa Maria, Calif. (The judge scolded Jackson for being 21 minutes late.) NASA announced that the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope would be allowed to degrade and eventually become useless. Freddy Adu, the 14-year-old phenom, was selected by D.C. United as the first pick in Major League Soccer draft.
In the world
In 1547, Ivan the Terrible was crowned Czar of Russia.
In 1944, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied Invasion Force in London.
In 1979, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi departed Iran for Egypt; he never returned.
In 1991, the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. (Because of the time difference, it was early Jan. 17 in the Persian Gulf when the attack began.)
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off with Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, on board. (The mission ended in tragedy Feb. 1, when the shuttle broke up during its return, killing all seven crew members.)