This Day in History

Posted: Monday, August 09, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1940, the first personnel arrived at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage aboard a B-10 bomber.

• In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried, unsuccessfully, to catch salmon off Aaron Island in Southeast Alaska, as he stopped off secretly on his way back from an inspection of the Aleutian Islands.

• In 1958, Mike Stepovich, the last governor of the Territory of Alaska, resigned to run for the U.S. Senate. He lost to Ernest Gruening.

• In 1969, the world's second natural gas liquefaction plant was dedicated at Kenai. The plant was a joint venture between Phillips Petroleum and Marathon Oil Company.

• In 1971, abundant rainfall flooded Little Susitna River, weakening the roadbed and causing the derailment of 16 railroad cars.

In the nation

• In 1790, the Columbia returned to Boston Harbor after a three-year voyage, becoming the first ship to carry the American flag around the world.

• In 1842, the United States and Canada resolved a border dispute by signing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

• In 1848, the Free-Soil Party nominated Martin Van Buren for president at its convention in Buffalo, N.Y.

• In 1854, 150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau published "Walden," which described his experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

• In 1944, 258 black American sailors based at Port Chicago, Calif., refused to load a munitions ship following the explosion of another ship that killed 320 men, two-thirds of them black. The sailors were court-martialed, fined and imprisoned for their refusal.

• In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally murdered in Tate's Los Angeles home. Cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his disciples were later convicted of the crime.

• In 1974, 30 years ago, President Nixon's resignation took effect. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation's 38th chief executive.

• In 1988, President Reagan nominated Lauro Cavazos to be secretary of education; Cavazos became the first Hispanic to serve in the Cabinet.

• In 1994, a divided Senate opened formal debate on legislation to provide health insurance for millions of Americans without it.

• In 2003, the Army fired up its first chemical weapons incinerator, located near a residential area outside Anniston, Ala., to destroy two rockets loaded with enough sarin nerve agent to wipe out a city. Dancer-actor Gregory Hines died in Los Angeles at age 57.

In the world

• In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of England following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

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