Friday, December 10, 2004
1672: Francis Lovelace, the second royal governor of New York colony, announces the inauguration of a monthly mail service between New York and Boston. The New York-Boston post road is now U.S. Highway 1.
1690: Massachusetts scores a first, becoming the first colonial government to borrow money.
1799: France introduces the metric system. Experts immediately predict that the United States will inevitably be left behind by foreign competitors if it does not adopt the new system.
1813: Zachariah Chandler (left), a self-made merchant who supports the Underground Railway and goes on to serve four terms in the U.S. Senate from Michigan, is born at Bedford, New Hampshire. In opposing the Dred Scott decision, he says, "I will support the constitution as its Fathers had made it, not as the Supreme Court has altered it."
1817: Mississippi is admitted as the 21st state.
1830: Simón Bolívar, the man for whom the Venezuelan national currency is named, dies of tuberculosis.
1851: Melville Louis Kossuth ("Melvil") Dewey, the Patron Saint of Librarians, is born in upstate New York. He will publish his "Dewey Decimal System" at age 25.
1869: The Wyoming Territory becomes the first U.S. jurisdiction to grant women the right to vote.
1896: Industrialist Alfred Nobel dies. "I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite," George Bernard Shaw will later write, "but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize."
1954: The Philadelphia Phillies purchase the old Shibe Park (left) for a reported $2 million and rename it Connie Mack Stadium. Shibe had been built in 1909 for $300,000; the Philies will play in it until 1970, when the city builds a $25 million replacement, Veterans Stadium.
1958: The University of Pittsburgh agrees to buy Forbes Field from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Forbes had been built the same year as Shibe, and to the same plan; it also sells for $2 million. The Pirates continue to play there until the city builds them a new stadium in 1970. It is now the site of the University of Pittsburgh library.
1964: The American music industry trembles at the onslaught of the British Invasion—an unprecedented 14 songs on the Billboard Top 100 are by British acts.
1971: The U.S. Senate confirms William Hubbs Rehnquist to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
1985: Congress passes a bill to balance the federal budget. For some reason it doesn't work.
1991: Architect I.M. Pei is paid $5 million for the design of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. It is cleverly camouflaged to look like a Dallas shopping mall.