Monday, June 27, 2005
1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sets sail from Navidad, New Spain (now Acapulco, Mexico) to explore the coast of California.
1829: James Smithson, a wealthy English minerologist with no connection to America, dies and leaves his fortune (some $500,000) to the United States government "to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."
1844: Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., and his brother Hyrum are murdered by a mob that storms the jail at Carthage, Illinois.
1880: Helen Keller, the only Socialist Swedenborgian member of the International Workers of the World to be honored on a U.S. coin (the Alabama state quarter) is born at Tuscumbia, Alabama.
1893: A crash on the New York Stock Exchange triggers the Panic of 1893, the most severe economic downturn in U.S. history before the Great Depression.
1930: Henry Ross Perot is born at Texarkana, Texas. While working as an employee at IBM, his bosses' refusal to listen to his ideas will lead to to start his own company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS). in 1962.
1954: The Soviet Union puts the world's first nuclear power station into operation at Obninsk, about 70 miles southwest of Moscow.
1967: The first ATM machine (made by National Cash Register) goes into operation. It's at the Barclays Bank branch at Enfield Town in London.
1972: Twenty-seven year-old Nolan Bushnell founds Atari, Inc., which will launch the video game craze with its Pong. He'll sell the company to Warner Communications four years later for an estimated $30 million.
1985: After more than fifty years as America's highway of dreams, U.S. Route 66 is officially decommissioned.