Oct 13, 1792:
White House Cornerstone Laid
~~"The cornerstone is laid for a presidential residence in the newly designated capital city of Washington. In 1800, President John Adams became the first president to reside in the executive mansion, which soon became known as the "White House" because its white-gray Virginia freestone contrasted strikingly with the red brick of nearby buildings.
The city of Washington was created to replace Philadelphia as the nation's capital because of its geographical position in the center of the existing new republic. The states of Maryland and Virginia ceded land around the Potomac River to form the District of Columbia, and work began on Washington in 1791. French architect Charles L'Enfant designed the area's radical layout, full of dozens of circles, crisscross avenues, and plentiful parks. In 1792, work began on the neoclassical White House building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue under the guidance of Irish American architect James Hoban, whose design was influenced by Leinster House in Dublin and by a building sketch in James Gibbs' Book of Architecture. President George Washington chose the site.
On November 1, President John Adams was welcomed into the executive mansion. His wife, Abigail, wrote about their new home: "I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house, and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but wise men ever rule under this roof!"
In 1814, during the War of 1812, the White House was set on fire along with the U.S. Capitol by British soldiers in retaliation for the burning of government buildings in Canada by U.S. troops. The burned-out building was subsequently rebuilt and enlarged under the direction of James Hoban, who added east and west terraces to the main building, along with a semicircular south portico and a colonnaded north portico. The smoke-stained stone walls were painted white. Work was completed on the White House in the 1820s.
Major restoration occurred during the administration of President Harry Truman, and Truman lived across the street for several years in Blair House. Since 1995, Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Lafayette Square has been closed to vehicular traffic for security reasons. Today, more than a million tourists visit the White House annually. It is the oldest federal building in the nation's capital."
Oct 13, 1775:
Continental Congress Authorizes First Naval Force
~~"On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress authorizes construction and administration of the first American naval force—the precursor to the United States Navy.
Since the outbreak of open hostilities with the British in April, little consideration had been given to protection by sea until Congress received news that a British naval fleet was on its way. In November, the Continental Navy was formally organized, and on December 22, Esek Hopkins was appointed the first commander in chief of the Continental Navy. Congress also named four captains to the new service: Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle and John Burrows Hopkins. Their respective vessels, the 24-gun frigates Alfred and Columbus, the 14-gun brigs Andrew Doria and Cabot, as well as three schooners, the Hornet, the Wasp and the Fly, became the first ships of the Navy’s fleet. Five first lieutenants, including future American hero John Paul Jones, five second lieutenants and three third lieutenants also received their commissions.
Admiral Hopkins, as he was dubbed by George Washington, was first tasked with assessing the feasibility of an attack on British naval forces in the Chesapeake Bay. After sailing south with his meager force of eight ships, Hopkins decided that victory in such an encounter was impossible. He sailed to the Bahamas instead, where he attacked the British port of Nassau, a decision for which he was relieved of his command upon returning to the continent.
During the American Revolution, the Continental Navy successfully preyed on British merchant shipping and won several victories over British warships. This first naval force was disbanded after the war. What is now known as the United States Navy was formally established with the creation of the federal Department of the Navy in April 1798."
Oct 13, 2010:
Chilean Miners Are Rescued After 69 Days Underground
~~"On this day in 2010, the last of 33 miners trapped nearly half a mile underground for more than two months at a caved-in mine in northern Chile, are rescued. The miners survived longer than anyone else trapped underground in recorded history.
The miners’ ordeal began on August 5, 2010, when the San Jose gold and copper mine where they were working, some 500 miles north of the Chilean capital city of Santiago, collapsed. The 33 men moved to an underground emergency shelter area, where they discovered just several days’ worth of food rations. As their situation grew more desperate over the next 17 days, the miners, uncertain if anyone would find them, considered suicide and cannibalism. Then, on August 22, a drill sent by rescuers broke through to the area where the miners were located, and the men sent back up a note saying, “We are fine in the refuge, the 33.”
Food, water, letters, medicine and other supplies were soon delivered to the miners via a narrow bore hole. Video cameras were also sent down, making it possible for rescuers to see the men and the hot, humid space in which they were entombed. As engineering and mining experts from around the world collaborated on the long, complex process of devising a way to bring the 33 men up to the surface, the miners maintained a system of jobs and routines in order to keep up morale.
Rescuers eventually drilled and reinforced an escape shaft wide enough to extract the men, one by one. (Employees of a Pennsylvania-based drilling-tool company played a role in drilling the rescue shaft.) On October 12, the first of the miners was raised to the surface in a narrow, 13-foot-tall capsule painted white, blue and red, the colors of the Chilean flag. The approximately 2,000-foot ascent to the surface in the capsule took around 15 minutes for each man.
The miners were greeted by a cheering crowd that included Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera; media from around the world; and friends and relatives, many of whom had been camped at the base of the mine in the Atacama Desert for months. Millions of people around the globe watched the rescue on live TV. Less than 24 hours after the operation began, all 33 of the miners, who ranged in age from 19 to 63, had been safely rescued. Almost all the men were in good health, and each of them sported dark glasses to protect their eyes after being in a dimly lit space for so long.
The rescued miners were later honored with trips to a variety of destinations, including England, Israel and Florida’s Walt Disney World, where a parade was held in their honor."
( love Jimmy Stewart)
Oct 13, 1950:
Jimmy Stewart Stars in Harvey
~~"On this day in 1950, the actor James Stewart stars in Harvey, a drama about an eccentric man whose best friend is a giant invisible rabbit. Directed by Henry Koster and based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Mary Chase, Harvey earned Stewart the fourth Best Actor Oscar nomination of his career. Considered one of Hollywood’s all-time greatest leading men, Stewart appeared in some 80 movies during his career, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Philadelphia Story and It’s a Wonderful Life, and was best known for his portrayals of decent, idealistic men.
Stewart was born on May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. At Princeton University, he performed in musical comedies with the Triangle Club before graduating in 1932 with a degree in architecture. There wasn’t a great demand for architects in the early 1930s, during the Great Depression, so Stewart turned to acting, landing his first big role on Broadway in 1934 in Yellow Jack. The following year he signed a contract with MGM and made his big-screen debut in The Murder Man, starring Spencer Tracy. He went on to appear in such movies as You Can’t Take It With You (1938); Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), in which his performance as an idealistic senator catapulted him to stardom and earned him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination; Destry Rides Again (1939), in which he played a marshal opposite Marlene Dietrich; and The Philadelphia Story (1940), in which he co-starred with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. In 1941, at the age of 33, Stewart joined the military as a pilot. Before he returned home in 1945, he reportedly flew 20 bombing missions over Germany.
In 1946, Stewart starred in the director Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. According to Stewart’s 1997 obituary in the New York Times: “His archetypal role (and his own favorite) was that of George Bailey, the small-town banker in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Frank Capra’s moralistic fantasy in which the hero is rescued from suicide by a pixieish angel who shows him how much meaner life would have been in his hometown without him. The 1946 feature-length Christmas card was a failure among audiences, who dismissed it as overly sentimental, but in later decades it became one of the most popular movies ever made and a holiday staple on television.”
After Stewart’s acclaimed performance in Harvey, he appeared in such films as The Glenn Miller Story (1954), in which he played the popular big-band leader; Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), in which he played a wheelchair-bound voyeur photographer; The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956); and The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), which featured Stewart as the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. His films during the 1950s also include Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), in which he starred as a retired detective opposite Kim Novak; and Anatomy of a Murder (1959), for which he earned his fifth Oscar nomination. During the 1960s, Stewart’s movie credits included The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and The Shootist (1976).
His final movie was the 1991 animated feature An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, in which he voiced the character of Wylie. Stewart died in Beverly Hills, California on July 2, 1997, at the age of 89."