Today in History: First escalator installed in NY in 1893

Today in History: First escalator installed in NY in 1893

126 years ago today, Jesse W. Reno installed the first working escalator (called the “inclined elevator”) at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island in New York City.

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Today in History: Grand Canyon declared National Monument in 1908

Today in History: Grand Canyon declared National Monument in 1908

111 years ago today, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt declares the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument.

Though Native Americans lived in the area as early as the 13th century, the first European sighting of the canyon wasn’t until 1540, by members of an expedition headed by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Because of its remote and inaccessible location, several centuries passed before North American settlers really explored the canyon. In 1869, geologist John Wesley Powell led a group of 10 men in the first difficult journey down the rapids of the Colorado River and along the length of the 277-mile gorge in four rowboats.

By the end of the 19th century, the Grand Canyon was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One famous visitor was President Theodore Roosevelt, a New Yorker with a particular affection for the American West.After becoming president in1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, Roosevelt made environmental conservation a major part of his presidency. After establishing the National Wildlife Refuge to protect the country’s animals, fish and birds, Roosevelt turned his attention to federal regulation of public lands. Though a region could be given national park status–indicating that all private development on that land was illegal–only by an act of Congress, Roosevelt cut down on red tape by beginning a new presidential practice of granting a similar “national monument” designation to some of the West’s greatest treasures.

In January 1908, Roosevelt exercised this right to make more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon area into a national monument. “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is,” he declared. “You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

Congress did not officially outlaw private development in the Grand Canyon until 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act. Today, more than 5 million people visit the canyon each year. The canyon floor is accessible by foot, mule or boat, and whitewater rafting, hiking and running in the area are especially popular. Many choose to conserve their energies and simply take in the breathtaking view from the canyon’s South Rim–some 7,000 feet above sea level–and marvel at a vista virtually unchanged for over 400 years. Source: http://www.history.com.

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Today in History: Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933

Today in History: Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933

For a long time, bridging the San Francisco Bay with its dangerous currents and hurricanes was considered an incalculable risk. After all, a strait over 300 feet deep and more than a mile wide had to be linked. When Bank of America secured the funding for the project, work began on February 5, 1933. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. In addition, its two Art Deco style pillars were the tallest structures outside of New York. The bridge opened in May 1937. Construction offered many people work during the Great Depression. When hit with a severe earthquake in 1989, the bridge was not damaged.

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Today in History: Alaska becomes 49th U.S. State in 1959

Today in History: Alaska becomes 49th U.S. State in 1959

60 years ago today, Alaska was admitted as the 49th state of the United States. On March 30, 1867, the U.S. purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, President Andrew Johnson was ridiculed for the purchase by both Congress and the press. The Senate ratified the treaty with a margin of only one vote on April 9, 1967. Alaska was formally handed over in October 1867. After three decades of slow U.S. settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory. Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.

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Today in History: Basketball was invented in 1891

Today in History: Basketball was invented in 1891

127 years ago today, the game of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith wrote the sport’s original 13 rules to create a game that could be played in YMCA gyms during the cold winter months. Initially, teams were made up of nine players attempting to toss a soccer ball into peach baskets secured to the balconies at the ends of a gymnasium. When a basket was made, the game was paused while a man with a ladder had to retrieve the ball. Following the first public matches in 1892, popularity of the new game spread quickly. The first intercollegiate match was played in 1895 and the first professional league was founded in 1898.  Nets did not replace the sport’s original peach baskets until 1905.

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Today is the first day of winter !

Today is the first day of winter!

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Today is Pan American Aviation Day

Today is Pan American Aviation Day

Pan American Aviation Day is observed annually on December 17 in the United States and falls on the same day as Brothers Wright Day, which is not surprising as both observances commemorate the same event.
On December 17, 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished the first successful flight of a mechanically propelled heavier-than-air craft near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This event is considered to be a pivotal milestone in the development of aeronautics which led to breakthrough developments. Pan American Aviation Day was declared by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was first observed in 1940 and has been proclaimed every year since then. This observance focuses on stimulating interest in aviation in the American countries. Its ultimate goal is to contribute to the development of more rapid communications and cultural ties between the countries in the Western hemisphere. Pan American Aviation Day is not a public holiday therefore government offices, educational establishments, and businesses do not close on this day. However, schools often organize trips to aviation centers or museums and classroom activities devoted to the history of aviation. Source: anydayguide.com.

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