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In 1894, the Juneau Ferry and Navigation Co. 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 Corp. and the Alaska Steamship Co. was announced.
In 1975, U.S. District Judge James Von der Heydt banned large-scale timber cutting throughout Alaska.
In the nation
In 1862, 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 1978, Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the final time from the embassy flagpole in Washington, marking the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S.
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 1997, Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado. Pianist Floyd Cramer died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 64.
In 2002, emerging from holiday seclusion at his Texas ranch, President Bush told reporters an attack by Saddam Hussein or a terrorist ally "would cripple our economy."
In 2006, the death toll for Americans killed in the Iraq war reached 3,000.
In the world
In 1775, the British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals 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 in connection with the blaze.)
In 1987, Robert Mugabe was sworn in as Zimbabwe's first executive president.
In 1997, in Sorocaba, Brazil, riot troops stormed a prison where inmates were holding hundreds of hostages, quickly ending a three-day rebellion without any deaths.