Friday, May 27, 2005
1703: Tsar Peter I founds the city of St. Petersburg at the mouth of the Neva on the Baltic Sea, to provide Russia with a "window on Europe."
1738: Nathanial Gorham is born at Charleston, Massachusetts. He'll become one of America's great real estate speculators, buying (with his colleague Oliver Phelps) all of New York State west of Seneca Lake, about 6 million acres, for $1 million—provided he can extinguish existing Indian titles.
1794: Cornelius Vanderbilt, who will quit school at age 11 to begin working as a deck hand on ferry boats, is born at Staten Island, New York. He'll buy his first boat at age 16.
1836: Jay Gould is born at Roxbury, New York. His first job will be as bookkeeper to a blacksmith in exchange for board; but with a mixture of good management and criminal activity he'll end up by owning or controlling one-ninth of the railroad track in the U.S., the Western Union Company, and the New York Elevated Railway.
1923: Future Viacom conglomerate builder Sumner Murray Rothstein (Harvard Law 1947) is born at Boston, Massachusetts; he'll later change the surname to "Redstone."
1924: Jules Stein founds the Music Corporation of America as a booking agency. As MCA it will be a major music producer from the 1960s to the 1990s.
1927: Faced with sagging sales, Ford Motor Co. stops production on the old Model T, relatively unchanged since 1908, and begins re-tooling its plant to make the Model A.
1933: The Century of Progress Exposition opens in Chicago, Illinois.
1935: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decides A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, holding that the President cannot constitutionally create wage- and price-fixing industrial regulations.
1937: After four years of construction and only 11 deaths, the $27 million Golden Gate Bridge opens, connecting San Francisco with Marin County, California.
1963: Columbia Records releases "one of the most important recordings of the 20th century," The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. It's the first to feature primarily his own compositions, including "Blowin' in the Wind," Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."