This Day in History

Posted: Monday, May 01, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1914, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane announced that the Susitna route had been chosen for the Alaska Railroad.

• In 1934, legal liquor returned to Alaska, and 10 liquor stores opened in Juneau.

• In 1959, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Fred Seaton sent Congress a bill seeking to establish an Arctic Wildlife Range. The DEW (Defense Early Warning) Line System was extended along the Aleutian Islands. Gov. William Egan formed the departments of law, labor, and natural resources.

• In 1979, Anchorage Mayor George Sullivan blasted reports that earthquake danger makes much of the city unsafe, saying he expected Anchorage buildings to survive the next earthquake.

In the nation

• In 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition was officially opened in Chicago by President Cleveland.

• In 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

• In 1931, New York's 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated.

• In 1967, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. (They divorced in 1973.)

• In 1971, Amtrak - which combined and streamlined the operations of 18 intercity passenger railroads - went into service.

• In 1978, Ernest Morial was inaugurated as the first black mayor of New Orleans.

• In 1981, Sen. Harrison A. Williams Jr., D-N.J., was convicted in New York of charges related to the FBI's ABSCAM probe.

• In 1996, PLO leader Yasser Arafat received a statesman's welcome at the White House, where he met with President Clinton for 45 minutes, then lashed out at Israel for keeping its borders closed to Palestinian workers.

• In 2005, on what was to have been her wedding day, "runaway bride" Jennifer Wilbanks was led by Albuquerque, N.M., police to an airplane that flew her home to Georgia.

In the world

• In 1786, Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro" premiered in Vienna.

• In 1945, a day after Adolf Hitler committed suicide, it was announced that Admiral Karl Doenitz had succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich.

• In 1948, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed.

• In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane near Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

• In 2001, President Bush committed the United States to building a shield against ballistic missile attack. FBI Director Louis Freeh announced his retirement. Thomas Blanton Jr. became the second ex-Ku Klux Klansman to be convicted in the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Ala., that claimed the lives of four black girls.

• In 2005, a car bombing at a Kurdish official's funeral in Tal Afar, Iraq, killed some two dozen people and wounded more than 50. Chinese computer maker Lenovo completed its purchase of IBM's personal computer division.

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