25 Years Ago
June 6, 1981 The competition to design a national Vietnam memorial is won by 21-year-old Maya Ying Lin, who proposes a low, sweeping wall inscribed with the names of fallen servicemen.
July 17, 1981 Two walkways filled with people collapse over a crowded hotel ballroom in Kansas City, Missouri. The accident, which kills 114 people, is later traced to a seemingly trivial design change.
50 Years Ago
July 16, 1956 In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus performs its last show under a canvas “big-top” tent and ceases operations. It will soon return under new management with an exclusively indoor policy.
100 Years Ago
June 29, 1906 Congress passes the Hepburn Act, which increases the government’s authority to regulate railroads. The next day it passes the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.
125 Years Ago
July 4, 1881 In Alabama, Booker T. Washington opens his Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, which will educate thousands of African-Americans.
150 Years Ago
June 17, 1856 The new Republican party holds its first national convention, nominating John Frémont of California for President.
175 Years Ago
June 30, 1831 Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk and Fox Indians, agrees to move with his people from Illinois to Iowa. After a harrowing winter they will return to their fields in 1832, leading to the Black Hawk War.
July 4, 1831 James Monroe dies in New York City. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died exactly five years earlier, so three of the first four Presidents to die have done so on July 4.