This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1906, a fire destroyed much of the business district of Wrangell.

• In 1959, Alaska jobless benefits were reported higher than that of any other state. The City of Kodiak prepared its Civil Defense shelters in case of atomic war.

• In 1960, three "Iron Dogs" - gas-powered ski-equipped sleds - arrived in Fairbanks after a demonstration run along 1,500 miles of the Kuskoquim River from Bethel, averaging 70 miles per day.

• In 1973, novice musher Dick Willmarth of Red Devil, won the first Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 20 days, 49 minutes and 41 seconds. Bobby Vent, of Huslia, was second.

• In 1989, the tanker Exxon-Valdez ran aground in Bligh Reef in the Valdez Narrows, spilling over 11 million gallons of oil into the waters of Prince William Sound, creating the largest oil spill in North America.

In the nation

• In 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.

• In 1883, long-distance telephone service was inaugurated between Chicago and New York.

• In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines.

• In 1955, the Tennessee Williams play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opened on Broadway.

• In 1958, rock-and-roll singer Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army in Memphis, Tenn.

• In 1994, President Clinton held a news conference in which he acknowledged he had significantly overstated the loss in his Whitewater land investment and promised to release late 1970s tax returns to answer questions on the land deal.

• In 1999, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Boeing 737 rudder problems caused two fatal airline crashes and nearly triggered a third.

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