The people and events that shaped this week in history.
1897 – A 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later plead guilty and was fined 25 shillings.
1931 – Crime boss Salvatore Maranzano is shot and stabbed to death in New York City by four men working for Charles “Lucky” Luciano, one of the flashiest figures in organized crime.
1991 – Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit is released as a single.
1857 – Mormon guerillas, stoked by religious zeal and a deep resentment of decades of public abuse and federal interference, and 120 emigrants murdered at Mountain Meadows, Utah. Only 18 small children were spared.
1921 – Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle, a silent-film era performer at the height of his fame, is arrested for the rape and murder of aspiring actress, Virginia Rappe. After two mistrials, the jury in Arbuckle’s third trial found him not guilty and even issued an apology, but the U.S. film industry temporarily banned him. He even tried a comeback, directing several films under the pseudonym William B. Goodrich, but his career never fully recovered.
2001 – An American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, television cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767–United Airlines Flight 175–appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center, and sliced into the south tower at about the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. America was under attack.
1940 – Near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings are discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern. The 15,000-to 17,000-year-old paintings, consisting mostly of animal representations, are among the finest examples of art from the Upper Paleolithic period.
1953 – JFK marries Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island. On this day in 1953, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, the future 35th president of the United States, marries Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island. Seven years later, the couple would become the youngest president and first lady in American history.
1814 – Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
1977 – The first diesel automobiles were introduced by General Motors.
1996 – Hip-Hop star Tupac Shakur died of gunshot wounds suffered in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting. More than two decades later, his murder is still unsolved. Six months after his death, Shakur’s rap rival, Christopher “Biggie” Wallace, was murdered in similar circumstances in L.A. No arrest has been made in connection with either murder.
1901 – U.S. President William McKinley died of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, at age 42, succeeded him.
1963 – Mary Ann Fischer gave birth to America’s first surviving quintuplets.
1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco–the American-born former film star Grace Kelly, whose movie credits include The Country Girl and Rear Window – dies at the age of 52 from injuries suffered after her car plunged off a mountain road near Monte Carlo. During the height of her Hollywood career in the 1950s, Kelly became an international icon of beauty and glamour.
1954 – The famous picture of Marilyn Monroe, laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast from a subway vent, is shot on this day in 1954 during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. The scene infuriated her husband, Joe DiMaggio, who felt it was exhibitionist, and the couple divorced shortly afterward.
1978 – Muhammad Ali defeats Spink to win his third World Heavyweight Championship Boxing title. Ali, who once claimed he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” left the sport permanently in 1981.
2003 – In Independence, MO, the birthplace of Ginger Rogers was designated a local landmark. The move by the Independence City Council qualified the home for historic preservation.
1845 – Phineas Wilcox is stabbed to death by fellow Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois, because he was believed to be a Christian spy. In 1838, Governor Lilburn Boggs signed a military order directing that the Mormons be expelled or exterminated: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary, for the public good.” Brigham Young, who quickly took command of the church and its followers, tried to stifle any dissent and banish his rivals. Wilcox’s death was part of his consolidation of power. The Mormons later flocked west and settled in the Salt Lake Valley, and would later become instrumental in founding the state of Utah.
1932 – In his cell at Yerovda Jail near Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi begins a hunger strike in protest of the British government’s decision to separate India’s electoral system by caste.
1940 – United States imposes the draft. The Burke-Wadsworth Act is passed by Congress, by wide margins in both houses, and the first peacetime draft in the history of the United States is imposed. Selective Service was born.