Wednesday’s History: January 6
Today, Jan. 6, in history includes the telegraph demonstrated, a blizzard hits the east coast and one man breaks two running world records, according to history.com.
Samuel Morse from Charlestown, Mass., was born in 1791. He studied art and electricity at Yale University. In 1832, the electromagnet was discovered and gave him the idea for an electric telegraph.
Morse teamed up with Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail. In 1838, Morse demonstrated the electric telegraph using dots and dashes, known as Morse code.
The first telegraph from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore was built in 1844. The first official message sent was "What hath God Wrought!"
Lines were set up in the northeast, then New York to Mississippi, eventually becoming Western Union.
Samuel Morse died in 1872 at age 80.
In 1925, Finnish runner Paavo "Flying Finn" Nurmi made his first U.S. appearance at Madison Square Garden in New York. Nurmi was to run the mile and 5,000 meters.
He won five gold medals in the 1924 Paris Olympics.
Two American runners started first in the mile race, Nurmi caught up and finished with a world record for indoor racing at 4:13.5. Fellow Finn Ville Ritola challenged him in the second race. Nurmi won his second world record at 14:44.6.
He ran 55 races all across the United States and lost just one race, his last one, at Yankee Stadium against American Alan Helfrich.
In 1996, a blizzard covered Washington, D.C., and the Eastern seaboard. The D.C. area received 12 inches in 24 hours. A record was set in Lynchberg, Va., with 20 inches of snow. Philadelphia had 30 inches and schools were closed until the 16th.
The winds were gusting up to 50 mph.
Property damage occurred. A Harlem church roof collapsed. Barns in Pennsylvania collapsed. Traffic accidents trapped people in their vehicles and they died of carbon monoxide. Homeless people died of hypothermia.
The government was shut down for a week. Nine states and Washington, D.C., were declared disaster areas by then-President Bill Clinton.
In all, 154 people died and there was more than $1 billion in damage.