This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, October 07, 2004

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 let pilots know their exact distance from the runway and improved safety in poor weather.

In the nation

• In 1765, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England.

• 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 at age 40.

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

• In 1954, 50 years ago, Marian Anderson became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Co. in New York.

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

• In 1979, Pope John Paul II concluded his weeklong tour of the United States with a Mass on the Washington Mall.

• In 1994, President Clinton held an East Room news conference in which he expressed frustration over failures in his legislative agenda, blaming Republicans for "trying to stop it, slow it, kill it or just talk it to death."

• In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was beaten and left tied to a wooden fencepost outside of Laramie, Wyo. 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.

• In 1999, American Home Products Corporation resolved one of the biggest product liability cases ever by agreeing to pay up to $4.83 billion to settle claims that the fen-phen diet drug combination caused dangerous heart valve problems.

• In 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger their new governor.

In the world

• In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.

• In 1950, the U.N. General Assembly approved an advance by U.N. forces north of the 38th Parallel in the Korean Conflict.

• In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean with more than 400 people aboard.

• In 1994, President Clinton ordered Army troops on alert and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf after Iraqi troops were spotted moving south toward Kuwait.

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