Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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February 17th
Firsts in the U.S.A.
On February 17, 1817, the first public gas streetlight in the United States was lit in Baltimore, Maryland. Artist Rembrandt Peale brought the idea of gas lighting to the city. He had learned about it during a visit to England, and on his return had displayed a “Ring of Fire” gas-powered light in his Baltimore museum. The success of that experiment led to the idea of lighting U.S. city streets and the founding of the country’s first gas company, the Gas Light Company of Baltimore.

Here are a few other firsts in the U.S.A:

Municipal subway
Boston, MA opened 1897

Movie theater
Los Angeles, CA opened 1902

Gas station
Pittsburgh, PA opened 1913

Traffic light
Cleveland, OH installed 1914

Licensed radio station
Detroit, MI 1920 (station 8MK)

Shopping mall
Kansas City, MO built 1922

Motel
San Luis Obispo, CA opened 1925

Air-conditioned office building
San Antonio, TX opened 1928 (21 stories)

Drive-in movie theater
Camden, NJ opened 1933

Parking meter
Oklahoma City, OK installed 1935

City parking garage
Welch, WV opened 1941

American History Parade
1801
The U.S. House of Representatives breaks an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, choosing Jefferson to be the third U.S. president.

1817
The first public gas streetlight in the United States is lit in Baltimore, Maryland.

1864
The Confederate H. L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to sink a warship, the USS Housatonic, but goes down after the attack.

1968
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opens to the public in Springfield, Massachusetts.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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