Oct 20, 1973. One of the most iconic and dramatic man-made structures of the 20th century, the Sydney Opera House, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II at Sydney, Australia, on this date. Designed by Danish architect Jrn Utzon, the theater is perched on Sydney Harbor and appears to bea ship in full sail. It took 14 years to build, and its roof is covered with more than one million tiles.
Oct 21, 1805. This famous naval action between the British Royal Navy and the combined French and Spanish fleets removed the threat of Napoleons invasion of England. The British victory, off Trafalgar on the coast of Spain, guaranteed the fame of Viscount Horatio Nelson, who died in the battle.
Image: Painting by by Nicholas Pocock, Public Domain
Oct 21, 1797. The USS Constitution was launched and christened by Captain James Sever on this date at Boston, MA, making this frigate the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Congress had commissioned the Constitution and five other ships in 1794. The Constitution earned its nickname, Old Ironsides, and place in Americas heart through valiant service in the War of 1812. In a fight with Britain’s HMS Guerriere on Aug 19, 1812, sailors reported a British shot repelled by the side of the ship and declared that its sides were made of iron. No enemy ever boarded the ship in its days of active service. It now rests at Boston Harbor.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com user “skeeze” CC0
Oct 22, 1942. Americas Sweetheart was born at Utica, NY. Her first big break was as a Mouseketeer on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Show, arole she successfully transitioned into a career as a pop singer, scoring a string of hits in the 1950s. Funicello hit it big again in the early 60s with a series of beach party movies (Bikini Beach, Pajama Party, Beach Blanket Bingo), most alongside costar Frankie Avalon. Funicello was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987, and died from complications due to her condition Apr 8, 2013, at Bakersfield, CA.
Oct 22, 1962. President John F. Kennedy, in a nationwide television address on this date, demanded the removal from Cuba of Soviet missiles, launched equipment and bombers and imposed a naval quarantine to prevent further weaponry from reaching Cuba. On Oct 28, the USSR announced it would remove the weapons in question. In return, the US removed missiles from Turkey that were aimed at the USSR.
Image: US Central Intelligence Agency, Public Domain
On 22 October, celebrate International Caps Lock day by toning down the online conversations and turning off the Caps Lock key! Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/international-caps-lock-day.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com user “itkannan4u”, CC0.
On 22 October 1844, the world was supposed to end according to religious leader William Miller, the proponent of Millerism. Stories abound of his many followers disposing of earthly goods and climbing to high places awaiting the end of the world. More information available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Disappointment.
Also called Uprising Day of Remembrance or Republic Day, 23 October is a national holiday in Hungary and commemorates the uprising against the Soviets which was crushed on 4 November 1956. Hungary later declared independence from the Soviet Union on 23 October 1989.
Oct 23, 1752. Also known as Canning Day, this is the anniversary of the birth of French chef, chemist, confectioner, inventor and author Nicolas Appert, at Chalons-sur-Marne, France. Appert, who also invented the bouillon tablet, is best remembered for devising a system of heating foods and sealing them in airtight containers. Known as the father of canning, Appert won a prize of 12,000 francs from the French government in 1809 and the title Benefactor of Humanity in 1812, for his inventions, which revolutionized our previously seasonal diet. Appert died at Massy, France, June 3, 1841.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay user jarmoluk, CC0.
Oct 23, 2001. The Apple company unveiled its portable MP3 music player to the press on this date. The iPod officially went on sale on Nov10, 2001, for $ 399. Critics at the time complained about the cost, but the iPod became incredibly popular. In January 2010, Apple announced that it had sold 250 million iPods.
Image: Wikimedia Images, CC0
Oct 23, 1925. Television talk show host, born at Corning, IA. He worked for various radio and TV shows, including Who Do You Trust? He first appeared on The Tonight Show in 1958 and was named the permanent host in 1962 with the resignation of Jack Paar. He remained on the air for more than 30 years and, along with sidekick Ed McMahon and bandleader Doc Severinsen, basically invented the TV talk show format as we know it today. When he retired in 1992, he was regarded as a national institution. Carson died at Los Angeles, CA, Jan 23, 2005.
Image: Public Domain, Gabor Rona (CBS), photographer.
Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com user MasterTux, CC0.
Oct 24, 1830. Belva Lockwood, an educator, lawyer and advocate for women’s rights, was born at Royalton, NY. In 1879 she was admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court the first woman to do so. While practicing law at Washington, DC, she secured equal property rights for women. By adding amendments to statehood bills, Lockwood helped to provide voting rights for women in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. In 1884 she was the first woman formally nominated for the US presidency. Died May 19, 1917, at Washington, DC.
Image: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Oct 24, 1901. The spectacle of Niagara Falls attracted no end of daredevils through the centuries, but the first one to go over the falls and survive in any kind of contraption was the unlikely Annie Edson Taylor, a 63-year-old former dance teacher who was down on her luck and hoping for fame and fortune. On this date, she accomplished this feat in a 160-pound barrel. No one repeated her stunt until 1911. More information available at http://www.niagarafallslive.com/daredevils_of_niagara_falls.htm.
Image:Photographer: Alexandra Studio ca. 1935 City of Toronto Archives Series 1057, Item 3165, Permission Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
National Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. According to foodday.org, “Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies.”
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com user “ejaugsburg,” CC0.
International Magic Week ends on October 31, the death anniversary of Harry Houdini.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com user “jlaso,” CC0.
Oct 25, 1888. Birth of Richard E. Byrd, pioneering American aviator and explorer who made the first flight over both polar axes, born to a prominent family at Winchester, VA.
While also credited with the first flight over the North Pole on May 9, 1926, Byrd’s primary polar explorations took place in Antarctica. He led the first flight over the South Pole on Nov 28 29, 1929, established the Little America exploration bases on the polar continent and in 1946 commanded Operation High Jump, which mapped 1.5 million square miles of Antarctica by aerial photography. Awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Cross, the National Geographic Hubbard Medal and the Department of Defense Medal of Freedom, Byrd died on Mar 11, 1957, at Boston, MA.
Image:CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Bundesarchiv Bild
The objective of World Pasta Day is to draw the attention of the media and consumers to pasta. Communication should underline the fact that pasta is a global food, consumed in all five continents, having unquestionable merits, appropriate for a dynamic and healthy life style capable of meeting both primary food requirements and those of high-level gastronomy. Read more at http://www.pasta-unafpa.org/pasta-day.htm.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com user “”Couleur,” CC0.
Oct 26, 1825. The Erie Canal, first US major man-made waterway, was opened, providing a water route from Lake Erie to the Hudson River. Construction started July 4, 1817, and the canal cost $ 7,602,000. Cannons fired and celebrations were held all along the route for the opening.
Image placed in public domain by Clifton Park Collection,
Oct 26, 1881. At 2: 30 PM, the Earp brothers and gambler/ dentist Doc Holliday confronted the Clanton and McLaury brothers at a vacant lot behind the O.K. Corral at Tombstone, AZ. After 30 seconds of gunfire, three deaths and decades of romanticizing, the incident would become the most notorious of the Old West. Marshal Virgil Earp and Deputy Marshals Wyatt and Morgan Earp attempted to disarm the Clanton faction, when gunfire erupted, although some witnesses claimed that the Clantons and McLaurys threw up their hands when ordered to. Billy Clanton and Frank and Thomas McLaury died. Virgil and Morgan Earp were wounded. After a 30-day murder trial, the presiding judge dismissed the charges, stating that the Earps and Holliday had acted in self-defense.
Image: O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona after a fire in 1882, Public Domain.
Oct 26, 1911. Born at New Orleans, LA, Jackson was the most famous gospel singer of her time. After moving to Chicago, IL, in 1928, Jackson sang with the Johnson Gospel Singers. Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, was her adviser and accompanist from 1937 to 1946. By the 1950s, Jackson could be heard in concert halls around the world. She sang at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy and at the 1963 March on Washington rally. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, described her voice as one heard once in a millennium. She died at Chicago, on Jan 27, 1972, and was buried at New Orleans, LA, where her funeral procession was thronged with mourners.
Image: Mahalia Jackson, 16 April. 1962, by Carl Van Vechten – Van Vechten Collection at Library of Congress, Public Domain
Oct 27, 1954. This highly successful and long-running show appeared on different TV networks under different names but was essentially the same show. It was the first ABC series to break the Nielsens top 20 and the first prime-time anthology series for kids. Walt Disney was originally titled Disneyland to promote the park and upcoming Disney releases. When it switched networks, it was called Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color to highlight its being broadcast in color. Presentations featured edited versions of previously released Disney films and original productions (including natural history documentaries, behind-the-scenes peeks at Disney shows and dramatic shows, such as the popular Davy Crockett segments, which were the first TV miniseries). The show went off the air in December 1980 after 25 years, making it one of the longest-running series in prime-time TV history. In 1997 ABC revived the series as Wonderful World of Disney.
Image: Public Domain, Radio Corporation of America (RCA)
Oct 27, 1728. (Old Style date.) English sea captain of the ship Endeavour and explorer who brought Australia and New Zealand into the British Empire. Born at Marton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire, England, he was killed Feb 14, 1779, at the Hawaiian Islands, which he discovered.
Image: This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Andre Engels.
Navy Day was created in 1927 to honor the US Navy – the date is based on 27 October, the birthday of Theodore Roosevelt, US President and a former Secretary of the Navy.