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August 17: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

August 17, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1906, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The city of Valparaiso, Chile, is reportedly badly damaged by earthquake. One report received here is that the situation in Valparaiso may prove to be as serious as the San Francisco disaster. Practically every building in the city is damaged, and there are fires in different parts of the city. Many persons are reported killed and injured. The earthquake has interrupted cable facilities to lower South American points and communication is restricted to the route via Lisbon … The scene of last night’s disturbance is the center of a vast area which for centuries has been visited periodically by earthquake shocks. The frequency of these shocks in the Andes is expressively told by the name given this region by the Indians. They call it Cuscation — ‘the land that swings like a hammock.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1913, the Eagle reported, “William Sulzer is not now recognized as the governor of New York State, according to an opinion handed down late yesterday afternoon by Corporation Counsel Archibald R. Watson of the City of New York, and warrants signed by him subsequent to his impeachment are not to be honored by Patrick A. Whitney, commissioner of Corrections. The Corporation Counsel’s opinion states the position of the City of New York on the question of the governorship, and it is the first formal utterance from a judicial or semi-judicial source on whether William Sulzer has the right to exercise the functions of the governorship. Sulzer’s warrant for the extradition of a prisoner named Pannone held in the city prison was, by the opinion of the head of the city’s law department, directed to be ignored.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1929, the Eagle reported, “CALCUTTA, INDIA (A.P.) — Rebellious Hazara tribesmen in Afghanistan were said here today to have captured an Afghan general and to have boiled him and his staff in oil. The tribesmen inflicted two severe defeats on Habibullah Khan at Sarchasma, 30 miles north of Kabul, where they captured a large amount of ammunition.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1933, the Eagle reported, “HAVANA (A.P.) — The hunt for hated members of the Porra, ousted President [Gerardo] Machado’s secret police organization, continued today with the capture after a gunfight of Jose Del Valle. After an exchange of shots with soldiers, some of whom he wounded, Del Valle attempted to escape over the roofs of buildings near the house in which he was found. There was particular interest in his capture in view of the fact that he is a brother-in-law of A.B. Ainciart, who was the chief of police under the Machado regime. The whereabouts of Ainciart have not been determined since the collapse of the Machado administration last week. Cuba awaited today the return from exile of former President Mario C. Menocal and Col. Carlos Mendieta and wondered what part they will play in reconstruction plans of the new provisional government.” 

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ON THIS DAY IN 1937, the Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON (U.P.) — A presidential proclamation formally declaring present Sino-Japanese hostilities a state of war and applying the American neutrality law appeared imminent today. President [Franklin] Roosevelt and his cabinet advisers considered the dispatch of additional troops to the Shanghai area to reinforce the Fourth Regiment of United States Marines, stationed there since 1927, and a company of marines enroute to Shanghai from Manila. It was understood that State Department officials favor sending additional reinforcements, but that military and naval leaders believe the marines and bluejackets already at Shanghai are a sufficient force to evacuate Americans from the war area. Recognition of the Oriental fighting as a state of war was believed impending because of the practical difficulty of President Roosevelt longer evading the unwelcome task placed upon him by the neutrality law. This law states that ‘whenever the president shall find that there exists a state of war between, or among, two or more foreign states the president shall proclaim such fact.’”

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Robert De Niro
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Belinda Carlisle
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Oscar-winner Robert De Niro, who was born in 1943; Oracle Corporation co-founder Larry Ellison, who was born in 1944; “Valley Girl” director Martha Coolidge, who was born in 1946; “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes, who was born in 1949; guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson, who was born in 1954; Go-Go’s co-founder Belinda Carlisle, who was born in 1958; “The Corrections” author Jonathan Franzen, who was born in 1959; Oscar-winner Sean Penn, who was born in 1960; NFL head coach Jon Gruden, who was born in 1963; “Blue Bloods” star Donnie Wahlberg, who was born in 1969; International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier, who was born in 1970; former N.Y. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who was born in 1971; San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay, who was born in Brooklyn in 1986; and figure skater Gracie Gold, who was born in 1995.

Jorge Posada
Kathy Willens/AP

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FULL STEAM AHEAD: Robert Fulton began the first American steamboat trip on this day in 1807. The 150-mile journey from Albany to New York City took 32 hours. Although his efforts were labeled “Fulton’s Folly” by his detractors, his success allowed him to begin commercial service the following year.

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IRON GIANT: New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig played in his record-breaking 1,308th consecutive game on this day in 1933, passing former Yankees shortstop Everett Scott. Gehrig played in 2,130 straight games before his career was cut short by illness in 1939. He died on June 2, 1941 at age 37. His record was broken by Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.  

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

Quotable:

“People tend to view history as if it were another planet and think the modern world was invented in 1963. I don’t agree.”

— “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes, who was born on this day in 1949


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