This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, August 03, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1784, the first Russian colony in Alaska was established on Kodiak Island.

• In 1870, the first lease of the Pribilof Islands was signed by the Alaska Commercial Company and the U.S. Treasury Department.

• In 1879, Alaska's first Presbyterian Church was dedicated at Wrangell.

• In 1908, the first automobile in Fairbanks arrived. It was a Pope-Toledo for Mr. David Laite.

• In 1959, the last stragglers of the second group of Michigan 59'ers homesteaders arrived in Willow, undecided as to whether to join the Detroit 59'ers in the Susitna Valley near Talkeetna, or to find another settlement. Anchorage police were asked to be on the lookout for an escaped goose with an unfriendly disposition.

In the nation

• In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th president of the United States, following the death of Warren G. Harding.

• In 1943, Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.

• In 1949, the National Basketball Association was formed.

• In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Reagan they would be fired, which they were.

• In 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.

• In 1993, the Senate voted 96-3 to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

• In 1994, President Clinton told a prime-time news conference he would sign either of two Democratic health care plans before Congress. Arkansas carried out the nation's first triple execution in 32 years. Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest justice in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's Vermont summer home.

• In 1999, Congressional Republicans, shrugging off a presidential veto threat, nailed down the details of an agreement for a 10-year, $792 billion dollar tax cut. Arbitrators ruled the government had to pay the heirs of Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder $16 million dollars for his movie film that captured the assassination of President Kennedy. The first issue of Talk magazine hit newsstands.

• In 2003, the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies further paved the way for the Rev. V. Gene Robinson to become the church's first openly gay elected bishop, approving him on a 2-1 vote. Annika Sorenstam completed a career Grand Slam at the Women's British Open, beating Se Ri Pak by a stroke in a thrilling head-to-head showdown. Hank Stram, Marcus Allen, James Lofton, Elvin Bethea and Joe DeLamielleure were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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