2003 - NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board were killed.
1788 - Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patented the steamboat.
1790 - The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York City.
1861 - Texas voted to secede from the Union.
1862 - “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” by Julia Ward Howe was first published in the “Atlantic Monthly.”
1884 - The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
1893 - Thomas A. Edison completed work on the world’s first motion picture studio in West Orange, NJ.
1896 - Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” premiered in Turin.
1898 - The Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, CT, issued the first automobile insurance policy. Dr. Truman Martin of Buffalo, NY, paid $11.25 for the policy, which gave him $5,000 in liability coverage.
1900 - Eastman Kodak Co. introduced the $1 Brownie box camera.
1901 - Actor Clark Gable (“Gone with the Wind,” “It Happened One Night”) was born.
1913 - Grand Central Terminal (also known as Grand Central Station) opened in New York City, NY. It was the largest train station in the world.
1919 - The first Miss America was crowned in New York City.
1920 - The first armored car was introduced.
1930 - The Times published its first crossword puzzle.
1951 - The first telecast of an atomic explosion took place.
1951 - The first X-ray moving picture process was demonstrated.
1957 - P.H. Young became the first black pilot on a scheduled passenger airline.
1958 - The United Arab Republic was formed by a union of Egypt and Syria. It was broken 1961.
1960 - Four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. They had been refused service.
1963 - Neil Young, at age 17, performed his first professional date at a country club in Winnipeg.
1964 - The governor of Indiana declared that the song “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen was pornographic. He requested that the state’s radio stations not play the song.
1969 - Joni Mitchell made her Carnegie Hall debut.
1976 - “Sonny and Cher” resumed on TV despite a real life divorce.
1987 - Terry Williams won the largest slot machine payoff, at the time, when won $4.9 million after getting four lucky 7s on a machine in Reno, NV.
1994 - Jeff Gillooly pled guilty in Portland, OR, for his role in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Gillooly, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, struck a plea bargain under which he confessed to racketeering charges in exchange for testimony implicating Harding.
1996 - Visa and Mastercard announced security measures that would make it safe to shop on the Internet.
1998 - Stuart Whitman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1999 - Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky gave a deposition that was videotaped for senators weighing impeachment charges against U.S. President Clinton.
2001 - Three Scottish judges found Abdel Basset al-Mergrahi guilty of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people. The court said that Megrahi was a member of the Libyan intelligence service. Al-Amin Khalifa, who had been co-accused, was acquitted and freed.