This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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 northern lights.)

• In 1857, James Wickersham was born at Patoka, Illinois. 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 Company Refinery at Kenai was dedicated.

In the nation

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

• In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty went into effect.

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

• In 1970, a bomb planted by antiwar extremists exploded at the University of Wisconsin's Army Math Research Center in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.

• 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 1995, Microsoft Corp. began selling its highly publicized Windows 95 personal computer software.

• In 2000, Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox met with Vice President Al Gore and President Clinton in Washington, a day before he met with Texas Gov. George W. Bush in Dallas.

• In 2004, an independent commission said the blame for abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison lay mainly with the American soldiers who ran the jail, but said senior commanders and top-level Pentagon officials could also be faulted for failed leadership and oversight.

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