[Actually, Sir Donald Smith had to drive in two last spikes on
this day in 1885, as he bent the first one; fortunately he
only financed the railway, and didn't build it.]
1492 - The Ensisheim Meteorite - the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact - struck the Earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, in the Alsace region of France; it is still preserved there in the Regency Palace.
1665 - The London Gazette - the official record of the British government and the oldest such publication extant - was first published.
1786 - Pupils of the composer William Billings founded the Stoughton Musical Society in Boston, making it the oldest musical organization in the US.
1848 - Whig Zachary Taylor was elected 12th US President over Democrat Lewis Cass.
1876 - Rutherford B. Hayes was elected 19th US President over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden.
1885 - Construction - begun in 1881 - ended on the Canadian Pacific Railway with the driving of the Last Spike by Sir Donald Smith, in Craigellachie, British Columbia. The promised railroad had been key in bringing Canada's westernmost province into Confederation in 1870.
1916 - Woodrow Wilson was elected to a second term as US President over Republican Charles Evans Hughes.
1929 - New York City's Museum of Modern Art opened to the public.
1932 - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century aired on radio for the first time.
1933 - Fiorello H. LaGuardia was elected the 99th mayor of New York City.
1940 - In Tacoma, Washington, the middle section of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (known as 'Galloping Gertie') collapsed in a windstorm, a mere four months after the bridge's completion.
1944 - Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term as US President over Republican Thomas E. Dewey.
1967 - Carl B. Stokes was elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, making him the first black mayor of a major American city.
1972 - Richard Nixon was elected to a second term as US President over Democrat George McGovern.
1983 - A concealed bomb exploded inside the U.S. Capitol Building outside the Senate Chamber, causing $250,000 in damages and ruining a portrait of Daniel Webster; since the Senate had been adjourned for nearly four hours at the time the corridor where the explosion occurred was empty, and no one was injured or killed. Marilyn Buck, Laura Whitehorn, and Linda Evans were later sentenced for their part in the blast, as well as other bombings at Ft. McNair, and the Washington Navy Yard.
1989 - Douglas Wilder won the gubernatorial election in Virginia, becoming the first elected black governor in the United States.
1990 - Mary Robinson became the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland.
1991 - Magic Johnson held a press conference to announce that he was infected with HIV; he thereupon retired from the NBA.
2000 - George W. Bush was 'elected' 43rd US President over Democrat Al Gore (although the controversial results would not be verified until January 6th, 2001, when the electoral college votes were ratified during a raucous joint-session of Congress - just two weeks before the inauguration); in the same election Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected to the United States Senate, becoming the first former First Lady to win a public office in the United States.
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