This Week In History: Common Sense, Murder, iPhone, Oil & Death by Molasses
SAN ANGELO, TX - Now that we're entering a new year, LIVE! will move on from providing daily updates on historical events and provide weekly ones instead. Being that history is important, we decided our readers might enjoy weekly tidbits of interesting events facts that helped shape our present.
Here is what we found for the second week of January.
January 9, 2017
1776 – Thomas Paine published the “Common Sense” pamphlet, which supported the colonies' decision to search for independence. The pamphlet was originally published anonymously and helped transform the colonists' mindsets as to why they should support the cause of the American Revolution.
1965 – “Goldfinger” had its debut in theatres across America with the Aston Martin Silver Birch DB5 taking center stage. The U.S-made cars continued to appear in multiple Bond movies.
1976 – Sylvester Stallone began filming Rocky on this day. The script was written by Stallone himself in a reported three and a half days. Stallone then sold the script to producers with the only condition that he be allowed to play the role of Rocky himself, even though the producers wanted a star with a higher profile.
The movie was produced with a $1 million-dollar budget and finalized in just 28 days. The film launched Stallone into stardom and he received 10 Academy Award nominations in 1977.
1985 – The Hillside Stranglers were tried for murdering 10 young women in Los Angeles. The duo, Angelo Buono and his cousin Kenneth Bianchi, went on a spree that involved raping and strangling women that began in 1977. The duo would pick up women in a van and then sexually assault and torture the women until they strangled them to death.
The pair would then clean the bodies and stage them in sexually explicit ways on hills. These hills were often near police stations, which led to the name Hillside Strangler. The press had assumed the murders were the work of one man. Finally, the murders stopped abruptly in February of 1978, and the cousins became estranged.
Bianchi then moved to Washington and killed two more college students. A witness who had seen him with the girls came forward and the investigation commenced. Bianchi decided to testify against his cousin after his claim to suffering multiple personalities was dismissed.
2007 – The iPhone made its debut at the Macworld convention in San Francisco. Jobs described the iPhone as a “revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.”
The iPhone would go on to be purchased by more than 200 million users just 5 years after its debut. In 2007 Time Magazine named it the Invention of the Year.
January 10, 2017
1901 – The first crude oil gusher makes its debut in a derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas. This marked the beginning of the oil industry and it became the world’s first trillion–dollar industry.
The geyser produced approximately 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. This allowed petroleum to become the primary fuel source for newly invented cars and airplanes.
1923 – President Harding ordered the troops sent to Germany after WWI to finally come home. The occupation force of 16,000 troops were based in Coblenz, Germany. This fulfilled the post-war Allied presence on the Rhine determined by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
This order occurred nearly four years after WWI had officially ended, and more than two million American soldiers had served on the battlefields of Western Europe; more than 50,000 of them lost their lives.
January 11, 2017
1908 – On this day, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. More than 800,000 acres of the canyon were deemed as a part of the monument.
Congress further protected the area by prohibiting private development. The panorama remains greatly unchanged for the last 500 years, and the canyon attracts more than 5 million visitors a year.
2010 – Miep Gies, the woman who helped hide Anne Frank and her family, passed away at the age of 100 while living in the Netherlands.
Miep worked as a secretary for Otto Frank, Anne’s father. With the help of her husband and other employees Miep safely hid eight individuals for nearly 25 months in the attic known as the “Secret Annex.” She saved Anne’s diaries and then gave them to her father when he returned from the concentration camp as the only survivor of the group.
January 12, 2017
1904 – Henry Ford reached the record of 91.37 mph while driving a 4-wheel vehicle that had a wooden chassis, but no body or hood. The record was completed on the frozen surface of Lake St. Clair in Michigan.
Ford would later go on to build the Model T in 1908, which revolutionized the automotive industry in the United States by providing affordable and reliable transportation. The implantation of the assembly line in 1913 also helped Ford increase his presence in the industry by cutting down the assembly of a chassis from over 12 hours to approximately an hour and a half.
1932 – Ophelia Wyatt Caraway, from Arkansas, was elected as the first female senator to the U.S. Senate. She served two terms, and was named, by President Franklin Roosevelt, to the Federal Employees Compensation Commission.
Caraway was the first elected senator, but the first woman in the Senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in 1922; however, she never ran for election. The first woman in the House of Representatives was Jeannette Rankin from Montana in 1917.
2010 – On this day, a 7.0 earthquake devastated the community of Haiti. The earthquake left 200,000 dead and nearly 895,000 homeless.
Even though countries all over the world, including the United States, pledged and raised money to help the victims on the one-year anniversary, the reconstruction efforts were in very early stages. Before the earthquake, Haiti was considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 80 percent of the population living in poverty.
January 13, 2017
1128 – The Knights Templar were officially ordained by Pope Honorius II as a military order that would serve as an army of God.
The original Knights Templar were of noble birth and had to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. Even though the knights themselves were not allowed to own property, the group received gifts and land from those who supported the cause.
By the 14th century, the group had grown in power and wealth and were eventually persecuted by the Church and King Philip IV of France. The Church later admitted that the persecution of the group was motivated by monarchs who felt threatened by the group's power and wealth.
2008 – The Golden Globes ceremony canceled on this day, and was held as a press conference in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The yearly event is usually held in true Hollywood fashion with a red carpet event, and the industry’s biggest stars don designer clothes.
However, a strike led by the Writers Guild of America broke out in November of 2007, which led to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's decision to hold a very simple press conference to announce the winners. The decision was made as the strikers and actors threatened to boycott the event.
The strike ended in February of that year, but the boycott cost the networks tens of millions of dollars, and more than 60 shows were temporarily shut down. The strikers asked to be awarded part of the revenue generated from internet destruction of their works.
January 14, 2017
1784 – Continental Congress ratified the Second Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the American Revolution.
The treaty recognized America’s independence from Britain and set the boundaries for the new nation. It also established the way the 1st few years of the nation developed.
1954 – Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio, but their marriage only last 274 days. The famous couple is said to have split largely in part to DiMaggio’s opposition to his wife public profile as a sex symbol. Their relationship had been extremely publicized since the beggining.
After Monroe’s second marriage, she was left very emotionally fragile. DiMaggio is the one who had to arrange Monroe's funeral after she overdosed in 1962. He is said to have sent roses every week to her Los Angeles grave until his death in 1999.
1970 – The Supremes held their last concert in Vegas after announcing their split. The group launched a total of 12 #1 hits during their career. The split was largely attributed to Motown Record’s chief, Berry Gordy.
Gordy continually did everything in his power to make Diana Ross the real star of the show. For Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, the other singers of the group, this proved to be too much, so they decided to leave the group. The trio grew up together in Detroit and finally hit a breakthrough in 1964, when Gordy ‘discovered’ them.
January 15, 2017
1559 – Queen Elizabeth I was crowned as the queen of England at the age of 25. She repealed her sister Queen Mary's claim to the thrown and ensured the country was permanently Protestant.
Queen Elizabeth was also known as the "Virgin Queen” for refusing to marry because it would lessen her ability to rule. Her policy rules and legislation allowed her to go down in history as one of England’s greatest monarchs.
1919 – A huge tank holding 2.5 million gallons of molasses exploded in the Boston. Twenty-one people lost their lives as an 8 foot wave of molasses swept away everything in its path.
The incident caused damage in the streets and injured dozens of people. Doors and windows caved in, and it took weeks to clean up all the molasses from the streets of Boston.
The United States Industrial Alcohol Company was cited as being at fault for not properly storing the molasses. The company paid nearly $1,000,000 in reparations and the settlement of claims.
1929 – Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Considered one of the greatest Civil Rights leader of his time, King Jr. helped pioneer the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s.
He preached peaceful methods to enact change, and is best known for his “I Have a Dream Speech” given at the March on Washington. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
1967 – Super Bowl I was held in the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles and featured the Green Bay Packers versus the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers defeated the Chiefs 35 – 10. As many as 60 million people tuned in to watched the game.
Note: Information in this article comes from History.com.