2. The exact death toll attributable to the fire is not known; 125 bodies were recovered but about 200-300 are estimated to have perished. Some 100,000 of the city’s 300,000 people were left homeless. More
December 4, 2012
November 23, 2012
2. It’s also the name of a song from the 1975 Steely Dan album Katy Lied, in which the songwriter plans to “catch the grey men when they dive from the fourteenth floor.” (Better use a big catcher’s mitt. Grey men are hefty.) More
November 22, 2012
2. The exact age of the ship is unknown, although it dates back to at least 1607; it was put out of service in 1622. (Got a bit tired crossing that ocean.) More
October 22, 2012
1. On this date in 1784, Russia starts a colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska. (Kodiak Island eventually becomes the second largest island in the United States.)
2. In 1797, Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the first parachute jump. (Couldn’t pay me to be the first to do that. Or the ten millionth and first, for that matter. Chicken? Yes, but a live chicken.) More
October 17, 2012
2. It also is the only continent with no glaciers. (Who knew?) More
October 8, 2012
2. He is today best known for “Seward’s Folly,” his championing of the purchase of Alaska from the Russians. Ridiculed by many at the time, it has proven to be a wise investment. More
October 1, 2012
1. The spelling bee is believed to have been started in the United States, prompted by the popularity of the original Noah Webster spelling books printed in 1786; 1825 is when the first known printed reference to a spelling bee is found. (Yeah, but they had so many fewer words back then, right?)
2. 1925 is when the U.S. National Spelling Bee first began. It was originally sponsored by Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper; Scripps Howard News Service started sponsoring it in 1941. More
September 26, 2012
1. The Black Death was a horrible and devastating pandemic that reached its peak in Europe between 1348 and 1350.
2. Recordkeeping in the 14th century wasn’t as thorough as it is today (and, of course, many records didn’t survive), so the exact extent of the Black Death’s damage isn’t known, but it’s estimated that it killed 30% – 60% of the people living in Europe, reducing the world population from 450,000,000 to between 350,000,000 and 375,000,000.
September 18, 2012
1. Born November 25, 1846, Nation is probably the member of the temperance movement most recognizable to people of the 21st century. (Quick – name 3 others. What? You can? Show off!)
2. Standing almost six feet tall and weighing about 175 pounds, Nation was a very imposing presence. (And possessed an imposing personality.)
September 11, 2012
1. On September 16, 1920, TNT in a horse-drawn wagon exploded on Wall Street and killed 35; the identity of the culprit(s) was never conclusively determined.
2. On May 21, 1856, a group of pro-slavery terrorists destroyed printing presses and shut down a hotel in Lawrence, KS.