December 17, 2004
Today in history—December 18
1728: After 78 years in existence, Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America, purchases a lot on Mill Street in lower Manhattan, on which it will build it own building, the first synagogue in New York.
1807: Poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who will later give his name to California’s Whittier Law School, is born at Haverhill, Massachusetts.
1874: Lawyer William Lyon Mackenzie King, who had more time in office and probably more college degrees (5) than any prime minister in Commonwealth history, is born at Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario.
1895: The National Anti-Saloon League (later known as the Anti-Saloon League of America) is founded in Washington, D.C.
1900: The Prix Guzman, which offers 100,000 francs to anyone who successfully communicates with other planets, is created. It has not yet been claimed.
1953: The Federal Communications Commission approves RCA’s technology for color television, which allows the color signals to be picked up on existing black-and-white sets.
1965: The "Eighth Wonder of the World," the $35 million Houston Astrodome (left), opens with a concert by Judy Garland and the Supremes. The Houston Colt 45s baseball team will be renamed the Astros, although they will still not be very good.
1965: The great coal mines of the Limburg region of the Netherlands, in continuous operation since the middle ages, are closed by the Dutch government.
1969: The U.S. Air Force announces that its UFO investigations have turned up no evidence of of extraterrestrial spacecraft. That’s what they’re hoping you’ll believe, anyway.
1975: John Paul Stevens is commissioned as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
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