Today in History: World’s largest railway station established in 1913

Today in History: World’s largest railway station established in 1913

106 years ago today, the world’s largest train station was inaugurated in New York City. It took 10 years to construct Grand Central Station, the gigantic, multi-level railway cathedral. The station quickly became one of the most famous buildings in New York. With some 500,000 visitors a day, Grand Central remains the city’s busiest building today. All long-distance transit is handled on the upper floor, regional traffic on the lower level. The train station is known for its huge waiting rooms and its excellent shopping. In 1978, the New York landmark only narrowly escaped demolition after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, after which it has been completely renovated.

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Today in History: Carl Benz gets patent for gasoline car in 1886

Today in History: Carl Benz gets patent for gasoline car in 1886

133 years ago today, German engineer Carl Friedrich Benz received the first patent for a gasoline-powered vehicle. Benz had begun to work on the two-stroke (or two-cycle) engine in 1878. Benz & Co. formed in 1883 and its first motor car rode through the streets of Mannheim, Germany in July of 1886.

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Today in History: India becomes a Republic in 1950

Today in History: India becomes a Republic in 1950

69 years ago today, the Constitution of India came into effect. The country became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth on 15 August 1947. Indian National Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India, but the leader most associated with the independence struggle, Mahatma Gandhi, accepted no office. The new constitution of 1950 made India a democratic country.

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Today in History: First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924

Today in History: First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924

The concept of Winter Olympic Games was first introduced in 1924. Following the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress decided that France, host of the 1924 summer games, should conduct a separate event for winter sports that same year. The French spa town of Chamonix was chosen to host what was named the “International Winter Sports Week” – the event actually lasted 11 days. The original sports were alpine and cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating. In 1925, the IOC officially created separate Olympic Winter Games and the 1924 Games in Chamonix were retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.

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Today in History: Gold discovered in California in 1848

Today in History: Gold discovered in California in 1848

171 years ago today, the California Gold Rush (1848 – 1855) began when the carpenter James W. Marshall discovered gold at Coloma’s Sutter’s Mill near the Sacramento River. His discovery triggered the first and biggest gold rush in North American history. Within one year, some 80,000 gold-seekers – the so-called “forty-niners” – moved to the region to pursue their fortune. By 1853, the number of adventurers had risen to a quarter of a million. After exploiting the most productive gold mines, many of the newly created camps and villages became ghost towns. As a result of the great gold rush, the foundation for the “Golden State” of California had been laid. In 1850, California became the 31st state to join the United States.

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Today in History: Adolphe Mouron Cassandre born in 1901

Today in History: Adolphe Mouron Cassandre born in 1901

118 years ago today, the poster artist and typeface designer A.M Cassandre (born Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron) was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine to French parents. After settling in Paris in 1915, the young artist studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Julian and opened his own studio in 1922. Cassandre learned the techniques of poster production while working for the Parisian printing house Hatchard et Compagnie. Between 1923 and 1936, he created several enormously influential advertising posters, among them “Etoile du Nord” (1927), “Dubonnet” (1932) and “Normandie” (1935). In 1927, Cassandre co-founded the advertising agency Alliance Graphique. He designed magazine covers, advertisements, logos and typefaces (among them the popular “Peignot” from 1937). In 1936, he was honored with an exhibition of his works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Cassandre worked in the U.S. during the late 1930s (Container Corporation of America) before returning to Europe in 1939 to join the French army fight the German invasion of World War II. After the war, Cassandre concentrated on painting, theater and ballet designs. Following a long and difficult battle with depression, he committed suicide in his apartment in Paris in 1968.

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Today in History: First passenger flight of the Concorde in 1976

Today in History: First passenger flight of the Concorde in 1976

43 years ago today, the airliner Concorde began its passenger service. The supersonic jet was first flown in 1969. Commercial service continued until the end of 2003. A total of only 20 aircraft were built. British Airways and Air France were its primary users.

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