This Day in History

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1936, the Custom House and Post Office in Sitka, a relic of Russian settlement, was destroyed by fire.

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

• In 1939, the first regular mail to Anchorage was delivered, arriving from Seattle on the Coast Guard cutter Spencer, then traveling by train from Seward.

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

• In 1861, President-elect Abraham 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 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.

• In 1997, Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian teacher, opened fire on the 86th-floor observation deck of New York's Empire State Building, killing one person and wounding six others before shooting himself to death.

• In 2002, Penn State pole vaulter Kevin Dare died after landing on his head during the Big Ten indoor championships in Minneapolis.

In the world

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

• In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised the American flag. (Actually, there were two flag-raisings that day - the second was the one captured in the famous Associated Press photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal.)

• 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 later put down after a short life marred by premature aging and disease.) In eastern India, nearly 200 people were killed when fire swept through a tent built for a religious festival.

• In 2002, Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by a rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. (She reportedly remains in captivity.)

• In 2006, the snow-covered roof of a Moscow market collapsed, killing 66 people. A United Arab Emirates company volunteered to postpone its takeover of significant operations at six major U.S. seaports, giving the White House more time to convince skeptical lawmakers the deal posed no increased risks from terrorism. Japan's Shizuka Arakawa stunned favorites Sasha Cohen of the United States and Irina Slutskaya of Russia to claim the women's figure skating gold medal at the Turin Winter Olympics.

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