Brooklyn Boro

Milestones: Thursday, August 10, 2023

August 10, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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NOT PROUD OF THIS BROOKLYN BOY — During a violent summer that included a region-wide electrical blackout, the feared serial killer charged with being the “Son of Sam” was finally arrested on Aug. 10, 1977. David Berkowitz, a Brooklyn native 24-year-old postal employee, for more than a year had terrorized New York City and killed six young people and wounded seven others — many of them young couples. Berkowitz had repeatedly claimed that demons were urging him to kill; and in some cases actually harassed a neighbor and his dog, claiming that they were demons. Police were able track him down and arrest him after an alert neighbor remembered that police were ticketing cars on her block, and found a .44 caliber revolver, ammunition, maps and other paraphernalia, which aided in their securing a search warrant on him. After his arrest, he seemed to bask in the media attention he was receiving. He also often changed his story: that he had been part of a Satanic group, and that he had become an evangelical Christian.

David Berkowitz was not the killer’s birth name. He was born Richard David Falco in Brooklyn; his mother gave him away days after he was born. A Jewish couple with the surname Berkowitz later adopted him.


PETE ROSE REACHES 3,631ST HIT — On Aug. 10, 1981, Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies got the 3,631st hit of his baseball career, breaking Stan Musial’s record for most hits by a National Leaguer. The baseball season had been suspended two months prior, leaving in the lurch Pete Rose and his 15-game hitting streak, in which he was leading the National League at 73 hits. He broke his record in the eighth inning, against the St. Louis Cardinals. The crowd gave him a standing ovation, and Stan Musial ran out to first base to congratulate Pete Rose.

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The baseball strike that season lasted from June 12 to the agreement sealed on July 31, with the main sticking point being team compensation for free agents.


ROYAL PALACE BECOMES MUSEUM — The French revolutionary government opened the Louvre on Aug. 10, 1793 after it had been a royal palace for more than two centuries. The Louvre had its origins under King Francis I in 1546 on the site of a 12th-century fortress built by King Philip II.  Francis was an art collector. A later king, Louis XIV, preferred living at Versailles Palace and so in 1682 turned the Louvre into an archival space for his royal collection. Ten years later, in 1692, the Louvre became the home of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, remaining there for a century. The National Assembly during the time of the French Revolution turned the Louvre into a museum to display France’s masterpieces. Almost every subsequent French monarch extended the Louvre and its grounds.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Grand Louvre, as the museum is officially known, underwent a major expansion and remodeling. However, the construction of a steel and glass pyramid as the centerpiece of the Napoleon courtyard, which was part of this project, was met with outrage from traditionalists who said it detracted from the classical architecture.


DONOR HAD NEVER VISITED U.S. — President James Knox Polk on  Aug. 10, 1846, signed into law the act  the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian’s founding resulted from an unusual set of circumstances.  A scientist who had never visited the United States bequeathed to that nation money for an educational institution. He also stipulated that this bequest would be effective only if his sole heir, a nephew, died childless. That is what wound up happening. Six years after his death, the nephew in question, Henry James Hungerford, died without children. Congress, having examined the bequest, authorized the nation to accept Smithson’s gift. See more about the donor who made the Smithsonian Institute possible, from the June 27, 2023 Milestones.

Among the discoveries for which Smithson is known was proving that zinc carbonates were true carbonate minerals, and one type of zinc carbonate was later named smithsonite in his honor.


THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP — Virginia Stephen, 30, married Leonard Woolf, 31, at a registry office in London on Aug. 10, 1912, thus becoming Virginia Woolf, the novelist. Born into British aristocracy, young Virginia was surrounded by the literati and intellectuals, including writer E.M. Forster and economist J.M. Keynes. They became known as the Bloomsbury group — also known for their sexual progressiveness for their time, including bisexuality. The couple established the Hogarth Press in their dining room.

Woolf published her groundbreaking novel Mrs. Dalloway in 1925, which was a stream-of-consciousness flow about a woman planning a dinner party. Later, she wrote a whimsical novel titled Orlando.


THE RICKENBACKER FRYING PAN — The U.S. Patent Office on Aug. 10, 1937 recognized the electric guitar as a new invention, awarding Patent #2,089.171 to G.D. Beauchamp for an instrument known as the Rickenbacker Frying Pan. It was an improvement on the acoustical guitar used in the early 20th century because it utilized a new method for transforming and amplifying sound. The Rickenbacker Frying pan revolutionized jazz, blues and country music, and led to the rise of rock and roll.

The patent itself was delayed over five years, thanks to certain concerns that had to be resolved. Adolph Rickenbacker wound up having to revise his patent application several times to clarify which of his individual claims were truly novel and which were merely new applications of existing patents, such as the use of a string or membrane that seemed to render similar the guitar and the workings of a telephone.

See previous milestones, here.

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