In 1911, Mount Wrangell erupted with fire and smoke that could be seen for many miles.
In 1917, Joseph A. McLean, Juneau lawyer and member of the Territorial Legislature, was born in Juneau.
In 1959, the first session of the first Alaska Legislature adjourned at 9:54 p.m. Unification of the "home rule" cities of Juneau and Douglas and the greater Juneau Borough was flatly rejected by voters.
In the nation
In 1789, President-elect Washington left Mount Vernon, Va., for his inauguration in New York.
In 1862, a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.
In 1935, the radio comedy program "Fibber McGee and Molly" premiered on the NBC Blue Network.
In 1945, in his first speech to Congress, President Truman pledged to carry out the war and peace policies of his late predecessor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1947, the French ship Grandcamp blew up at the harbor in Texas City, Texas; another ship, the Highflyer, exploded the following day. The blasts and resulting fires killed 576 people. Financier and presidential confidant Bernard M. Baruch said in a speech at the South Carolina statehouse: "Let us not be deceived - we are today in the midst of a cold war."
In 1962, Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as anchorman of "The CBS Evening News."
In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon.
In 1994, Ralph Ellison, author of "Invisible Man," died in New York at age 80.
In 1999, President Clinton defended NATO airstrikes against Serbian targets during visits to Michigan and Massachusetts, saying U.S. involvement in Kosovo was a moral imperative. Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement from hockey.
In the world
In 1879, Saint Bernadette, who had described seeing visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, died in Nevers, France.
In 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned to Russia after years of exile.
In 1945, U.S. troops reached Nuremberg, Germany, during World War II.
In 1994, Bosnian Serbs downed a British Sea Harrier jet near Gorazde; the pilot ejected, and was rescued by Bosnian government troops.