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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Today in History: August 25

1530: Russians are overjoyed when an heir, who is named Ivan after his grandfather, is finally born to Vasily III of Moscow.  Only later will they start calling him “the Terrible.”

1609: Galileo Galilei demonstrates his new telescope for the Venetian authorities.  He soon has a flourishing business selling them to local shipowners.

1718: Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville finds a rare high spot on the banks of the flood-prone Mississippi, and found a settlement which he calls La Nouvelle-Orléans.

1796: James Lick, who will become the richest man in California during the Gold Rush by buying San Francisco land, not gold mines, is born at what is now Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.  He will also convince a former neighbor from Peru named Ghirardelli that there’s money to be made selling chocolate in California.

1835:  The New York Sun inaugurates the Great Moon Hoax by reporting that life has been discovered on the Moon with a powerful new telescope that sees people and various animals there.  It’s six days before the hoax is revealed.

1900: God may or may not be dead, but as of this date Friedrich Nietzsche is.

1910: The Shaw Livery Company is formed in Chicago from a merger of livery and taxicab companies.  It will later change its name to Yellow Cab and its president John Hertz, will later leave to form his own car rental business.

1950: President Truman orders U.S. railroads seized by the Army to avert a potential strike.

1975: Bruce Springsteen releases his breakthrough Born to Run.  Although it will later be voted the “most popular” album of all time and among the top 20 "greatest albums," it actually never hits the top spot on the Billboard charts.

1980: The Broadway version of 42nd Street -- a remake of the popular film that single-handedly kept Warner Bros. from bankruptcy in 1933 -- opens at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City.

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