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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Today in history—April 30

1812: The former Orleans Territory is admitted to the Union as the 18th state, under the name "Louisiana."

1883: Painter Édouard Manet dies of syphilis.  His quick "impressionist" style launched a revolution by allowing artists to produce more paintings more quickly and make a living selling them to the bourgeoisie instead of relying on patronage of the wealthy.

1900: The Hawaii Territory is organized with Congressional passage of the Hawaii Organic Act.  Lawyer Sanford Ballard Dole, a cousin of the fruit magnate who had been President of the Republic, becomes its first Governor.

1925: The investment house of Dillon Read & Co. buys the Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicle Co. for $146 million (about $1.5 billion today), in what is said to be the largest cash acquisition in history to date. It will sell the company to Chrysler three years later.

1900: An engineer for the Illinois Central Railroad, John Luther "Casey" Jones, becomes a folk hero when he stays at the switch when his Cannonball, southbound from Memphis at 70 miles an hour, hits a freight train at Vaughan, Mississippi.

1933: Singer Willie Hugh Nelson is born at Abbott, Texas. At age 57 he’ll owe the IRS $16.7 million in unpaid taxes, and will have to record a new album solely to help pay off the tab.

1938: Warner Bros. releases a cartoon called Porky’s Hare Hunt, which introduces an unnamed rabbit.  The rabbit will turn out to be popular and will later be named for the cartoon’s director, Ben "Bugs" Hardaway.

1939: Nearly 200,000 people crowd opening day at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing.  It's the brainchild of a group of local businessmen looking to spark economic growth.  It works, since over the next six years America’s economy will be running at full clip.

1944: Actress Jill Clayburgh is born at New York City. In First Monday in October (1981), she’ll play the first female Supreme Court justice to be shown nude in a shower.

1947: President Truman signs the legislation returning Hoover Dam to its original name.  President Roosevelt’s administration had changed the name from Hoover to "Boulder" shortly after taking office.

1948: The Organization of American States is founded at Bogotá, Colombia.

1948: The Rover Co. introduces the "Land Rover" at the Amsterdam Auto Show. Originally designed out of parts from the U.S. Willys Jeep, the car line will be bought by Ford in 2000.

1956: Former Vice President Alben William Barkley (Virginia Law 1900), dies of a heart attack while giving a speech at Washington & Lee University.

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