This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1775, the Spanish vessel Santiago anchored near Craig and reported: "Here the men took on water and wood, and due to the mildness of the climate, they recovered completely. They felt the heat which they considered would be from the quantity of flames which were emitted from a volcano, which erupted four or five times a day, and the whole locality being illuminated at night by the glare." (Historians do not know what they saw. It was not Mount Edgecumbe erupting, and it was too early in the fall for the northern lights.)

• In 1857, James Wickersham was born at Patoka, Ill. He came to Alaska as a U.S. district judge.

• In 1912, President William Taft signed into law a bill creating the Territory of Alaska and the Alaska Territorial Legislature.

• In 1959, a California realtor announced plans for a $6 million tourist resort to be built on 47 acres at Salmon Creek, three miles north of Juneau.

• In 1963, the Standard Oil Co. refinery at Kenai was dedicated.

In the nation

• In 1814, British forces invaded Washington D.C., setting fire to the Capitol and the White House.

• In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States, traveling from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., in just over 19 hours.

• In 1954, the Communist Control Act went into effect, virtually outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.

• In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for slaying rock star John Lennon.

• In 1989, Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti banned Pete Rose from the game for gambling.

• In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing record damage; 55 deaths in Florida, Louisiana and the Bahamas were blamed on the storm.

• In 1993, the Clinton administration unveiled its proposed revisions to wetlands policy, which would expand protection, but also give landowners some of the flexibility they had long sought.

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