[New York City's George Washington Bridge is the only direct above-ground road connection between the island of Manhattan and the American mainland, making for a most dramatic gateway while traveling in either direction.]
1800 - Spain's Don Mariano Luis de Urquijo ceded Louisiana to France's Louis Alexandre Berthier via the secretive Third Treaty of San Ildefonso; due to the uncertain cartography of the times, the territory included in the subsequent Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was disputed (which confusion was only partially settled by the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819).
1890 - Yosemite National Park in California was established by the US Congress.
1891 - California's Stanford University officially opened with a co-ed student body of 559 and 15 faculty; among those students in attendance on that propitious day was future President Herbert Hoover who, because he was the first student to reside in dorm, thereafter claimed to be the school's first student.
1903 - The Boston Americans, now known as the Boston Red Sox, met the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Huntingdon Avenue Grounds in the first World Series; Boston won the series 5-3.
1908 - Henry Ford introduced the Model T, with a price tag of $825; the so-called Tin Lizzie would remain a perennial bestseller until it was discontinued in favour of the Model A in May 1927, and has been named the 20th Century's most influential automobile. A full decade after its discontinuance Upton Sinclair published The Flivver King, an expose of life under the Ford regime at the height of Model T-mania which later brought about the unionization of the company that made them.
1910 - A large bomb destroyed the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, killing 21.
1926 - An oil field accident cost aviator Wiley Post his left eye; he used the settlement money to buy his first aircraft, and the combination of the two would later literally prove his downfall.
1931 - Work was completed on the George Washington Bridge between upper Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey; originally designed by Cass Gilbert as a concrete- and stone-clad structure, when work began in October 1927 the financial crisis of the Great Depression made this aspect of the design budgetarily infeasible, and it was subsequently abandoned. The resulting tracery of bare beams make the bridge a much-loved landmark in New York City as-is, not to mention well-used; more than 100 million cars cross it every year.
1940 - The Pennsylvania Turnpike, often considered America's first superhighway, opened to traffic.
1942 - The USS Grouper torpedoed the Japanese freighter Lisbon Maru not knowing she was carrying 1800 Allied PoWs from Hong Kong, 800 of whom drowned in the disaster; while the Axis vessel was at fault for not bearing the appropriate markings, an untold number of those who died were shot by Japanese officers for attempting to escape the sinking ship.
1947 - The F-86 Sabre flew for the first time at California's Muroc Dry Lake.
1957 - In God We Trust first appeared on American paper money, though it had begun appearing on US coins as early as 1861.
1958 - NASA was created to replace NACA.
1961 - Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit his 61st home run of the season, breaking Babe Ruth's record of 60 set in 1927.
1962 - The first broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was aired.
1964 - The Free Speech Movement was launched at the University of California, Berkeley under the informal leadership of students Mario Savio, Brian Turner, Bettina Apthecker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others
1971 - Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida; EPCOT Center would open on the same day in 1982.
1979 - Pope John Paul II began his first trip to the United States.
1987 - The Whittier Narrows earthquake shook the San Gabriel Valley, registering as a magnitude 5.9.
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