Milestones: Friday, October 27, 2023
SUBWAY’S MAIDEN RUN—THE NEW IRT SUBWAY LINE HAD ITS MAIDEN RUN on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 27, 1904, when New York City Mayor George McClellan took the controls on the maiden run of the city’s innovative new subway. This first line, which the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), operated, traveled 9.1 miles through 28 stations — running from City Hall in Lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown. The route then proceeded westward along 42nd Street to Times Square, and then turned north, heading all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. In fact, Mayor McClellan enjoyed his stint as engineer so much that he stayed at the controls all the way from City Hall to 103rd Street.
The subway opened to the public at 7 p.m. that evening. More than 100,000 riders each paid their nickel to ride underneath Manhattan. Thee IRT expanded to The Bronx the following year, and to Brooklyn in 1908.
OUTLAWING QUAKERS — TWO QUAKERS FROM ENGLAND WHO HAD ESCAPED RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN AMERICA WOUND UP BEING EXECUTED IN THE MASSACHUSSSETTS BAY COLONY FOR THEIR BELIEFS, on Oct. 27, 1669. William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, two Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) who came from England in 1656, were part of the Christian movement that George Fox had founded in England earlier that decade. Quakers opposed central church authority, instead finding spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings. Quakers advocated sexual equality and they opposed slavery. Robinson and Stevenson had violated a law banning Quakers from the colony that the Massachusetts General Court had passed during the prior year, and that violation carried the penalty of death. Robinson and Stevenson, who were hanged from an elm tree on Boston Common, became the first Quakers to be executed in America.
In 1682,a young man named William Penn, capitalizing on monies that King Charles II owed his father, founded the colony (later, the Commonwealth) of Pennsylvania, which was a haven for Quakers.
CHEAPER AND STRONGER — BARBED FENCING WIRE HAD ITS ORIGINS ON Oct. 27, 1873, when Joseph Glidden, an Illinois farmer, submitted his application to the U.S. Patent Office for his clever new design to protect his fields. Glidden had drawn his inspiration from an exhibit at the DeKalb County Fair with single-stranded barbed wire belonging to a Henry Rose. Improving on this, Glidden designed a wire with two strands twisted together securing the barbed spur in place. Glidden’s double-strand barbed wire lent itself to mass production, and by 1880 factories had made more than 80 million pounds of Glidden’s barbed wire very economically. Farmers also found Glidden’s wire to be a good deal, since it was the best way to fence in their properties and withstood weather conditions.
But while settlers and homesteaders protected their land, the invention of barbed wire also had a drawback for some, as it effectively ended the open-range cattle industry and cattle drivers could no longer send the livestock just anywhere to roam.
FORD TAURUS RETIRED — The last Ford Taurus rolled off the assembly line in Hapeville, Georgia on Oct. 27, 2006, some 21 years after the model was launched. The keys to this last-of-a-kind car were handed to octogenarian Truett Cathy, founder of the national Chick-fil-A fast-food franchise, who added it to his collection of vintage cars, including the earliest Ford models. More compact than the typical Ford family car, the Taurus appealed to energy efficiency-conscious buyers, and the car was an instant hit, with 263,000 vehicles sold in its first year. By 1992, the Ford Taurus was the best-selling passenger car in the United States.
However, after the start of the 21stt century, other makes and models became top sellers because they gave better fuel efficiency.
‘SUPERSTAR’ BORN AS AN ALBUM — THE DOUBLE-LP CONCEPT ALBUM CALLED “JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR” WAS RELEASED ON Oct. 27, 1970. The album was the brainchild of Brits Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, who would soon become the most successful composer-lyricist team in modern theater history. Whereas many musicals debut on Broadway, with the soundtrack later compiled into an album, “Jesus Christ Superstar” succeeded in reverse. The album came out first, and almost a year later, on Oct. 12, 1971, ‘Superstar” premiered on Broadway as a rock musical starring Jeff Fenholt (now deceased) as Jesus, Ben Vereen as Judas and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene. Elliman reprised Mary in the 1973 film version.
Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen (who played Pontius Pilate) were the only cast members of “Jesus Christ Superstar” to have performed in its original album, the Broadway production and the movie version. Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson played Jesus and Judas, respectively, in the movie.
See previous milestones, here.
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