This Day in History

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1898, the Juneau Courthouse and Jail, on the site of the present State Office Building, burned to the ground.

• In 1900, the steamer Walcott, a former revenue cutter, was wrecked in Shelikof Strait (north of Kodiak).

• In 1959, Japan Air Lines made its test Tokyo-Seattle run, stopping over - for refueling only - in Anchorage.

• In 1969, a Fairbanks group formed by oil and gas leasebrokers claimed their clients were unfairly deprived of a chance to get rich quick when Natural Resources Commissioner Thomas Kelly classified 3 million acres of North Slope land for competitive lease sale.

• In 1979, clean-up efforts began on a 25,000-gallon oil spill at the Louisiana-Pacific pulp mill at Ward Cove, Ketchikan.

In the nation

• In 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of all the Confederate armies.

• In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt devalued the dollar in relation to gold.

• In 1950, President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.

• In 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Explorer 1.

• In 1971, astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.

• In 1993, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl 27, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

• In 1990, McDonald's Corp. opened its first restaurant in Moscow.

• In 2000, an Alaska Airlines jet plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard.

• In 2002, the Bush administration handed abortion opponents a symbolic victory, classifying a developing fetus as an "unborn child" as a way of extending prenatal care to low-income pregnant women under the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a speech that the United States had to prepare for potential surprise attacks "vastly more deadly" than the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackings. The University of Kentucky, cited by the NCAA for more than three dozen recruiting violations, was placed on three years' probation.

In the world

• In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces began invading Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

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