This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, October 07, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1870, Fort Tongass, near Alaska's southernmost boundary, was abandoned by the Army.

• In 1925, the box factory of the Ketchikan Spruce Mills was destroyed by fire.

• In 1971, the Juneau Municipal Airport put a DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) Navigation Aid into operation. It would let pilots know their exact distance from the runway, improving safety in poor weather.

In the nation

• In 1777, the second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered 10 days later.

• In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, Md., at age 40.

• In 1940, Artie Shaw and his Orchestra recorded Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" for RCA Victor.

• In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard M. Nixon held the second of their broadcast debates.

• In 1963, President Kennedy signed the documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the Soviet Union.

• In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America adopted its film-rating system.

• In 1982, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical "Cats" opened on Broadway. The show closed Sept. 10, 2000, after a record 7,485 performances.

• In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay college student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, robbed and left tied to a wooden fencepost outside of Laramie; he died five days later. Russell Henderson later pleaded guilty to murder; a second suspect, Aaron McKinney, was convicted of murder; both were sentenced to life in prison. The Justice Department sued Visa and MasterCard, the nation's largest credit card networks, on grounds they were restraining competition and limiting consumers' choices. A judge later ruled that the Visa and MasterCard associations had to allow their member banks to issue other credit cards.

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