Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapses – This Week in History

On November 7, 1940, just four months after its completion, the world’s third-longest suspension bridge snaps in a 42 mph wind and collapses into the waters below. This was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, a slender, 2-lane creation whose tendency to visibly sway and wobble earned it the name “Galloping Gertie.”

World's Third Largest Suspension Bridge CollapsesWorld’s Third Largest Suspension Bridge Collapses Fri, Nov 8, 1940 – Page 1 · Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Blair, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

A single car was on the bridge at the time of the incident, occupied by a newspaper copy editor named Leonard Coatsworth and his cocker spaniel. When the bridge began to violently tip one way and then the other, he abandoned the car—and, after a quick, failed coercion effort, the dog—and crawled his way across the bridge to shore before the bridge snapped. (You can read a full account of his experience in his own words here.)

The dog, still inside the car when it slid off the broken bridge, was the single casualty of the disaster.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse, 1940Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse, 1940 Thu, Nov 28, 1940 – 3 · The Springville Herald (Springville, Utah, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Though a firm consensus hasn’t been reached as to the exact reasons for the collapse, the Tacoma Bridge incident led to better aerodynamics in bridge design and, eventually, the implementation of mandatory wind-tunnel testing. In 1950, a new and improved Tacoma Narrows Bridge (nicknamed “Sturdy Gertie”) was constructed with wider lanes and better resistance to wind.

Old Tacoma Bridge vs New Tacoma BridgeOld Tacoma Bridge vs New Tacoma Bridge Sun, Nov 12, 1950 – Page 46 · Daily Press (Newport News, Newport News, Virginia, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Read more about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse with a search on Newspapers.com.

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OK Corral Shootout – This Week in History

This week in 1881, a brief but deadly shootout between the Earp brothers and the “cowboys” at OK Corral results in three dead and three wounded. It has since become one of the most famous gunfights of the American Wild West.

Bloody Battle in the Streets of TombstoneBloody Battle in the Streets of Tombstone Sun, Oct 30, 1881 – Page 1 · Arizona Weekly Citizen (Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Among the dead, as stated in the clipping above, were cowboys Tom (erroneously called Jim) McLaury, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton. Famous lawman Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, along with friend Doc Holliday, survived with wounds.

Find more on the OK Corral gunfight with a search or browse through the collections of Newspapers.com.

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Marie Antoinette Executed – This Week in History

On October 16, 1793, erstwhile French queen Marie Antoinette is executed by beheading on charges of treason.
Execution of the Queen of FranceExecution of the Queen of France Mon, Oct 21, 1793 – Page 3 · The Evening Mail (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.com

The execution came in the midst of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Her famed extravagance, along with the fact that she was a symbolic target on which to pin France’s problems, made her unpopular among those who would come to seal her fate. Contemporary papers describe in detail, though with some clear bias, the scene leading up to her execution and their feelings on the whole affair.

Last Moments of the QueenLast Moments of the Queen Mon, Nov 11, 1793 – 3 · The Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland) · Newspapers.com

Marie Antoinette supporters lament her fateMarie Antoinette supporters lament her fate Mon, Oct 21, 1793 – Page 3 · The Evening Mail (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.com

With her beheading, Marie Antoinette followed her husband, King Louis XVI, to the grave. He was executed nine months prior on similar charges.

Find more on Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI, and other events of the French Revolution with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – This Week in History

On October 8, 1871, a devastating fire spreads across the streets of Chicago. It would come to be known as the Great Chicago Fire.The Fire Fiend - Great Chicago Fire 1871The Fire Fiend – Great Chicago Fire 1871 Sun, Oct 8, 1871 – Page 5 · The New York Times (New York, New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Great Fire in ChicagoGreat Fire in Chicago Mon, Oct 9, 1871 – Page 4 · The Daily State Journal (Alexandria, Alexandria, Virginia) · Newspapers.com

Terrible Fire in Chicago 1871Terrible Fire in Chicago 1871 Sun, Oct 8, 1871 – 1 · Leavenworth Daily Commercial (Leavenworth, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

With its frequent high winds and countless wooden structures, 1871 Chicago was prone to fires even before the “Great Fire” tore through the city. However, none were so destructive as this one, which killed hundreds of people and cost millions of dollars (billions, today) in damages.

Find more on this event in history with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Mount Rushmore Project Begins – This Week in History

This week in 1927, work began on the ambitious sculpture of Mount Rushmore. The project was the brainchild of sculptor Gutzon Borglum.

Mount RushmoreMount Rushmore Sun, Aug 22, 1999 – Page 102 · Daily Press (Newport News, Newport News, Virginia, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Mountain SculpturingMountain Sculpturing Fri, Oct 7, 1927 – Page 8 · Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Washington’s face was the first to emerge from the stony cliff. The rest of the sculpture would take 14 years to complete, though “complete” may be the wrong term to use. Gutzon planned for the sculpture to not only include the four famous faces we see there today, but also to inscribe a history of the United States into the mountain that would endure through the ages. However, Gutzon’s unexpected death in 1941 led to an early end to the project, and the history portion of the sculpture was never included.

Not everyone was pleased with the decision to use a natural landscape as the canvas for a memorial to presidents past.

Not everyone pleased about Rushmore memorialNot everyone pleased about Rushmore memorial Wed, Oct 5, 1927 – 4 · Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Kentucky, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Regardless of the controversies it has stirred in past or present, Mount Rushmore has become an internationally recognizable U.S. landmark.

Mount Rushmore a National ShrineMount Rushmore a National Shrine Thu, Jul 6, 1939 – 6 · Rapid City Journal (Rapid City, Pennington, South Dakota, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Mount Rushmore, 1941Mount Rushmore, 1941 Thu, Mar 6, 1941 – 6 · Des Moines Tribune (Des Moines, Polk, Iowa, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Some interesting related articles:

How Rushmore Got its Name

Susan B. Anthony proposed as another addition to Mount Rushmore sculpture

Find more on Mount Rushmore and its history with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Integration at Central High – This Week in History

On September 25,1957, integration in schools begins in Little Rock, Arkansas, when nine black students are escorted into the halls of previously all-white Central High.

Troops disperse crowd at Central HighTroops disperse crowd at Central High Thu, Sep 26, 1957 – 18 · The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The event was preceded by weeks of difficulty with segregationist governor Orval Faubus. Faubus had ordered National Guard troops to surround the school to prevent the students from entering. His stated reasoning was to “prevent disorder and bloodshed” from citizens who opposed integration. When the Guard was withdrawn at the order of Federal Judge Ronald Davies, the students were escorted through an angry mob by armed guards.

Guard escorts students into Central High SchoolGuard escorts students into Central High School Wed, Sep 25, 1957 – Page 1 · The Kane Republican (Kane, McKean, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

The whole process was pretty rough and wouldn’t get much easier over the next few years. Though some of the white students welcomed their new classmates, many were not so friendly. In 1958 Faubus closed Little Rock’s schools to further prevent integration; this decision was overturned after a tense, year-long fight, and the schools were reopened in 1959.

Find more on this important moment in history with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Enterprise Unveiled – This Week in History

This week in 1976, NASA’s first space shuttle, the Enterprise, was revealed to the public. And it was definitely named after Star Trek.

The EnterpriseThe Enterprise Fri, Sep 17, 1976 – Page 3 · Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas) · Newspapers.com

Space Shuttle EnterpriseSpace Shuttle Enterprise Thu, Sep 9, 1976 – Page 9 · Simpson’s Leader-Times (Kittanning, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Space Shuttle Enterprise Unveiled TodaySpace Shuttle Enterprise Unveiled Today Fri, Sep 17, 1976 – Page 1 · The Index-Journal (Greenwood, South Carolina) · Newspapers.com

Space Shuttle EnterpriseSpace Shuttle Enterprise Sat, Sep 18, 1976 – Page 32 · Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey) · Newspapers.com

The Enterprise was not built to withstand the rigors of space, but was used in atmospheric test flights in the late 1970s. It never went through the intended retrofitting that would allow for spaceflight when it became clear that it would be prohibitively expensive to do so. In 2003 the shuttle was fixed up and put on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. It was moved to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City in 2012 and remains there today.

Find more on this piece of spacey history with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Attack on America – This Week in History

In the morning hours of September 11th, 2001, the world watched in horror as the twin towers of the World Trade Center were brought down by terrorist attack. This week in headlines:

Sept 11, 2001Sept 11, 2001 Tue, Sep 11, 2001 – Page 47 · The Journal News (White Plains, New York) · Newspapers.com

Sept 11, 2001 attackSept 11, 2001 Tue, Sep 11, 2001 – Page 37 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.com

Sept 11, 2001Sept 11, 2001 Tue, Sep 11, 2001 – 1 · The Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, New York) · Newspapers.com

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Suffrage for Women! – This Week in History

On August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment is officially adopted into the constitution. Occasionally called the Anthony Amendment after Susan B. Anthony, one of the first to push for a women’s suffrage amendment, the 19th Amendment granted all women the right to vote.

Suffrage for women19th Amendment adopted Thu, Aug 26, 1920 – Page 4 · Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) · Newspapers.com

This historic moment reflected decades of effort by leaders in the women’s suffrage movement and the organizations they headed. The proclamation was signed without ceremony, but changed millions of lives nonetheless.

Find more headlines and articles from this historic day here, or with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery – This Week in History

On August 23, 1902, Fannie Farmer opens a school to teach her methods of cooking. You may not have heard of her, but she revolutionized American cooking by introducing standardized measuring tools in her famous cookbook. Next time you measure a level teaspoon of baking soda, you know who to thank! Miss Farmer’s aptitude and nearly scientific approach to cooking made her a familiar name across the country.

Made Cooking a ScienceMade Cooking a Science Sun, Nov 24, 1957 – Page 38 · Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan) · Newspapers.com
Miss Fannie FarmerMiss Fannie Farmer Sat, Jul 19, 1902 – 3 · New England Farmer (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Miss Farmer was unique in her field for another reason, too; not only did her cookery courses focus on fancy dinners and events, but she worked to create diets catered to the ill. She taught nutritional courses to doctors and nurses and considered her work creating meals for those who are so often without appetites to be her most important contribution. But the classes taught in her cooking school focused on all of her areas of expertise.

Miss Farmer's school of cookeryMiss Farmer’s school of cookery Sat, Sep 6, 1902 – 3 · New England Farmer (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Find more on Fannie Farmer, her cookbook, and her cooking school with a search on Newspapers.com.

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