March 22: ON THIS DAY in 1933, beer bill signed by Roosevelt
ON THIS DAY IN 1849, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The New York Phonographic Society gave an exhibition this evening. One of their number is able to write 180 words in a minute. An ordinary speaker utters about 120. A large number of writers in the academy it is said can write very rapidly. This phonography is one of the greatest discoveries of modern times, and our public schools will never discharge their functions properly till it is one of the branches regularly taught in them.
ON THIS DAY IN 1875, the Eagle reported, “A branch office of the Western Union Telegraph Company has been established in the Eagle Counting Room for the accommodation of the public, thus placing the citizens of Brooklyn in telegraphic communication with all parts of the United States. A Gold and Stock indicator, in the Counting Room, records the transactions of the Stock Board, arrival and departure of steamers and items of financial, ship and general news. The Eagle has also a special wire connecting it with the Western Union Office in New York, for the transmission of its private dispatches and placing it in communication with all parts of the world.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1913, the Eagle reported, “Although ten thousand or more fans looked over Ebbets Field last Sunday, the chill wind and the knowledge that the approaches were muddy kept other thousands away. That caused the club to announce that the grounds will be open for inspection tomorrow from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and, if the weather is good, the place is sure to be well filled all day. Son Charley Ebbets will be in charge and dispense tickets to the opening games, as Papa Ebbets is resting up in New Orleans.” The first game played in Ebbets Field was an exhibition between the Dodgers and Yankees on April 5, 1913. The Dodgers won 3-2.
ON THIS DAY IN 1933, the Eagle reported, “Washington, March 22 (AP) – President [Franklin] Roosevelt signed the 3.2 percent beer and wines bill into law today immediately on receiving it from the Capitol. He asked the attorney general to report the status of federal prisoners convicted under the dry laws but who would not have been guilty of violation under the terms of the new beer law. No decision has been reached on paroling such prisoners nor is it known how many there are. The beer bill legalizes the beverages to be sold where not otherwise prohibited as soon as the clock strikes midnight April 6. Fourteen states allow the beer, which must be held to 3.2 percent alcohol by weight or 4 percent by volume. Wasting no time on the act, to which he looks for at least a $125,000,000 tax contribution toward balancing the budget, Mr. Roosevelt – as soon as the bill reached the White House – crossed over to his Cabinet room to affix his signature, along with that of Vice President [John Nance] Garner that had been put on two minutes after the Senate met. The president went to the Cabinet room by prearrangements to enable photographers to record the scene.”
ON MARCH 24, 1900, the Eagle reported, “Many a spadeful of earth has been upturned on Manhattan Island, but never was an upturning attended by so much significance as that performed with a silver spade in front of the City Hall this afternoon. For years New Yorkers, official and unofficial, rich and poor, have thought and talked about rapid transit, the ever growing problem of the metropolis. During the past twelve months, in municipal circles, there has been no topic to rival it in public importance, and today Mayor [Robert A.] Van Wyck, in the presence of the Rapid Transit Commission and the invited guests of the city, made the work a reality and not a scheme. Millions of dollars will have to be spent before New York can be equipped with a transit system such as the commissioners have planned. To complete the project in its entirety will take a long time, but a start is everything and this afternoon New York ‘s greatest public improvement had its formal beginning.”
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