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This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1894, the Juneau Ferry and Navigation Company began carrying passengers between Juneau and Douglas Island. The operation continued until the completion of the Douglas Bridge in 1935.

• In 1917, all saloons in the territory of Alaska closed their doors at midnight under a new Alaska law.

• In 1947, the merger of Skinner and Eddy Corporation and the Alaska Steamship Company was announced.

• In 1975, U.S. District Judge James Von der Heydt banned large-scale timbercutting throughout Alaska.

In the nation

• In 1892, President Lincoln signed an act paving the way for West Virginia statehood.

• In 1877, President and Mrs. Hayes celebrated their silver anniversary (actually, a day late) by re-enacting their wedding ceremony in the White House.

• In 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo Park, N.J.

• In 1946, President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

• In 1974, private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.

• In 1985, singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas.

• In 2001, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spent his final day in office praising police, firefighters and other city employees, and said he had no regrets about returning to private life. Notre Dame tapped Tyrone Willingham to be its football coach, replacing George O'Leary, who'd resigned because of misstatements about his academic and athletic achievements on his resume; Willingham became the first black head coach in any sport for the Irish.

• In 2005, Dick Clark, in his first television appearance since his stroke in 2004, helped to ring in the new year in Times Square.

In the world

• In 1775, the British repulsed an attack by Continental Army Gens. Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed.

• In 1857, Britain's Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.

• In 1986, 97 people were killed when fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the blaze.)

• In 1991, representatives of the government of El Salvador and rebels reached agreement at the United Nations on a peace accord to end 12 years of civil war.

• In 1996, leftist rebels in Peru released two diplomats, leaving 81 hostages in the besieged Japanese embassy residence in Lima.

• In 2005, in central Indonesia, suspected Islamic militants set off a powerful bomb at a busy market frequented by Christians, killing seven people.



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