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Milestones: Monday, September 18, 2023

September 18, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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ARCHITECTURAL WORK-IN-PROGRESS — THREE YEARS AFTER CONGRESS APPROVED THE CREATION OF A GOVERNMENTAL DISTRICT that would become Washington, D.C., President George Washington on Sept. 18, 1793, laid the cornerstone to the United States Capitol building, the home of the legislative branch of American government. However, the construction was not finished in finite time, taking nearly a century to complete. According to the website of the Architect of the Capitol, a federal government agency in charge of maintaining the complex, the Capitol building was “built in successive phases over the past two centuries.” The Capitol building underwent several disruptions, the departure of architects, the British setting it on fire during the War of 1812 and its Civil War use as the soldiers’ drill grounds, barracks and commissary. The famous cast-iron dome atop the Capitol was constructed during the Civil War era.

Today the history-rich building comprises the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings, constructed during the 19th and 20th centuries.

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17TH CENTURY WOMAN PREACHER — ANNE HUTCHINSON, WHO WOULD BECOME AN OUTSPOKEN AND FEARLESS religious preacher, arrived with her family in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on Sept. 18, 1634. Anne joined a group of women who worked as midwives and healers. But she soon diverged from the Puritan doctrine of John Cotton and his inner circle that she and her husband had joined. Anne’s experiences in easing women’s childbirth and healing led her to believe that heaven was attainable to anyone who worshiped God directly, through a personal connection, an evangelically focused theology that many people hold today. Men and women were drawn to her teachings, but not all were sympathetic; Hutchinson was eventually tried for heresy as her teachings contradicted Puritan doctrine. Hutchinson was among those who followed another unorthodox theologian — Roger Williams — to the Rhode Island colony.

After her husband’s death Anne homesteaded on land that is now near Pelham Bay but met a violent end when a local indigenous group of Siwanoy attacked and bludgeoned her and her family. The Hutchinson River Parkway was named in her memory.

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TEEN IDOL TO ALAMO DEFENDER — FRANKIE AVALON, born Sept. 18, 1940 as Francis Thomas Avallone in Philadelphia, is an actor, singer and past teen idol. His family hailed from Sicily and Campania, Italy, Better known as Frankie Avalon, he made the pop charts with 31 U.S. Billboard singles from 1958-1962, including number one hits, “Venus” and “Why” in 1959. Avalone’s film debut was in the 1960s, particularly the popular Beach Party films with now-grown-up Mouseketeers star Annette Funicello. He also appeared as the Teen Angel in the 1978 movie “Grease,” singing “Beauty School Dropout” to Didi Conn’s “Frenchy.”

Frankie Avalon wound up becoming related through marriage to the iconic actor John Wayne. They appeared together in the 1960 epic history film, “The Alamo,” with John Wayne as Davy Crockett and Avalon playing one of Davy Crockett’s Tennesseans. A few years later, Avalon married Kathryn Diebel, the sister of John Wayne’s wife, Gretchen.

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FUTURE PRESIDENT SIGHTS UFO — FUTURE U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER ON SEPT. 18, 1973 filed a report with the international ufo bureau, claiming to have seen an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) almost four years earlier, in October 1969. A dozen other people had also witnessed the same event, which Carter described as “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen” in the sky — “very bright [with] changing colors and about the size of the moon.” The group had spotted the UFO while waiting for the start of a Lion’s Club (civic service organization) meeting in Leary, Georgia.

Although during his successful 1976 Presidential campaign Carter pledged to encourage the government to release to the public “every piece of information” about UFO’s, he backed off from that promise after taking office. He recognized, or had been advised, that releasing such information could become a national security concern.

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NEWSPAPER HEIRESS TURNED RENEGADE — PATTY HEARST, A PREVIOUS HOSTAGE AND ALLEGED MEMBER OF THE SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY, was captured in a San Francisco apartment on Sept. 18, 1975 and arrested for an armed bank robbery committed while she was part of the group. The 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst had been kidnapped some 19 months earlier, in 1974; two months after the kidnapping she apparently joined the group on her own free will, but later claimed she had been brainwashed. The original ransom demand made to the Hearst family and corporation was for $2 million of food to be distributed to the city’s needy. But the SLA’s tactics soon turned to armed bank heists. Although she was convicted, President Jimmy Carter commuted Patty’s sentence and she wound up serving fewer than three years of a seven-year sentence. President Bill Clinton, on his last day in office, granted her a full (and controversial) pardon.

The SLA’s name “Symbionese” was reportedly a derivation of the word “symbiosis,” defined as a “body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony.” However, the leftist group used violent tactics, including armed robbery to achieve its goals of fighting racism, capitalism and espousing Marxism and feminism.

See previous milestones, here.


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