This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1936, the old log Custom House and Post Office at Sitka, a relic of Russian days, was destroyed by fire.

• In 1937, a major fire in Douglas destroyed the school, the post office, City Hall, and the fire hall.

• In 1939, the first regular mail to Anchorage was delivered by a special train from Seward. It was delivered to Seward from Seattle by the Coast Guard cutter Spencer.

• In 1985, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner surrendered its distinction as "Alaska's Widest Newspaper" by changing to the standard 16-inch-wide format, from a previous 17 inches.

In the nation

• In 1822, Boston was granted a charter to incorporate as a city.

• In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.

• In 1847, U.S. troops under Gen. Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico.

• In 1848, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died of a stroke at age 80.

• In 1861, President-elect Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, an assassination plot having been foiled in Baltimore.

• In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

• In 1942, the first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II occurred as a Japanese submarine fired on an oil refinery in Ellwood, Calif.

• In 1954, the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh.

In the world

• In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised the American flag.

• In 1981, an attempted coup began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard invaded the Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. (However, the attempt collapsed 18 hours later.)

• In 1997, scientists in Scotland announced they had succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named Dolly. (Dolly, however, was put down this Feb. 14 after a life marred by premature aging and disease.)

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