This Day in History

Posted: Friday, December 24, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1824, the Afognak Forest & Fish Culture Reserve was established by President Benjamin Harrison.

• In 1906, telegraphic service via submarine cable was opened between Juneau and Ketchikan.

• In 1914, the first ore train in the Juneau area operated from the Perseverance Mine to the mill at Thane, south of Juneau.

• In 1959, a Reno, Nev., media group purchased the Alaska Daily Empire in Juneau. It is now the Juneau Empire and is owned by Morris Communications, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. Bob Hope began a series of shows for Alaska's military personnel at Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks. Other shows were planned at Elmendorf, Eielson and other Air Force bases in Alaska.

In the nation

• In 1851, fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.

• In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Tenn., called the Ku Klux Klan.

• In 1920, Enrico Caruso gave his last public performance, singing in Jacques Halevy's "La Juive" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

• In 1943, President Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation "Overlord."

• In 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," the first opera written specifically for television, was first broadcast by NBC TV.

• In 1980, Americans remembered the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds - one second for each day of captivity.

• In 2002, Laci Peterson was reported missing from her Modesto, Calif., home, by her husband, Scott, who was later convicted of murdering her and their unborn son.

In the world

• In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama - who discovered a sea route around Africa to India - died in Cochin, India.

• In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium.

• In 1871, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt, to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.

• In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve television broadcast.

• In 1994, armed Islamic fundamentalists hijacked an Air France Airbus A-300 carrying 227 passengers at the Algiers airport; three passengers were killed during the siege before the hijackers were killed by French commandos in Marseille two days later.

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