Pullman workers launch rail strike. Chicago July 6, 1894.
The nation’s railway capital is in chaos for the third day as troops armed with Winchesters and a federal injunction continue to battle armies of the unemployed and legions of rail workers striking in sympathy with labourers at the Pullman Palace Car Company. Not since the 1860‘s has the nation found its house so divided on Independence Day. The conflict began in Pullman Illinois where George Pullman had built an entire town around his rail car works.
American Beauty. New York City. 1895.
With a voluptuous figure, a natural voice and a flair for publicity, Lillian Russell is transforming herself into the darling of the American stage and fixture on the society pages. She has made her name as a sultry burlesque singer, as “The American Beauty” in Tony Pastor’s casino and as “airy fairy” Lillian in a host of comic operas. Raised in Chicago, Miss Russell developed her skills under the tutelage of the sisters of The Sacred Heart. By 17, she had outgrown their embrace and made her stage debut in Time Tries All. Then she moved to New York and left her fiancé to join Edward Rice’s Pinafore company.
First American “Open” won by British ex-caddie. Rhode Island, Oct 4, 1895.
The First United States Golf Open was won by a British professional today. Horace Rawlins, only 19 years old, captured the inaugural event defeating Willie Dunn. Rawlins, a former caddie in England, has been serving as assistant professional at the Newport club here. The Open was established to sort out much of the confusion in the American golf picture
The Fabulous life style of the rich and idle in the Gay Nineties. New York City 1895.
Being a millionaire these days is a full-time job. Never mind getting there; building railroads, making steel, refining oil and financing the whole lot of it. The real effort is staying in Ward McAllister’s Social Register, which he says lists all the New Yorkers worth anything at a dinner party. There are, incidentally, only 400, exactly the capacity of Mrs. Astor’s ballroom.
Spain rejects U.S. Arbitration in Cuba. Madrid May 22, 1896.
President Cleveland’s offer to act as mediator in the bloody uprising that has been raging in Cuba for more than a year was rejected today by the Spanish Government. The diplomatic snub is almost certain to increase American sympathy for Cuban rebels, already fanned by press reports of atrocities committed by Spanish troops against the civilian population. Business interests, with investments of some £90 million in Cuban sugar plantations, have also been calling for the United States to take action.
American is first Olympic Champion. Athens, Summer 1896.
The Olympic Games, abolished in the year 394 after a 1000 year history, have been resumed here and an American is the winner of the first gold medal. James B. Connolly, who left Harvard because the University would’nt grant him leave to compete, place first in the triple jump. In addition to the United States, Nations participating with informal teams included Denmark, England, Germany, France, Hungary, Switzerland and the host, Greece. Most of the American taking part came from Boston Athletic Association. The Olympics were revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who visited the United States and received ideas shaping his plans.
Innovative American motor cars are being tested. Narrragansett Sept. 7, 1896.
“Get a horse!” Such was the chant of bored spectators at America’s first track race for motor wagons held here today. But in spite of the public’s apathy, a handful of American engineers were unremitting this year in efforts to propel the nation into the horse less age. Chas. And Frank Duryea, who competed in this Narragansett competition, built their first gasoline powered vehicle in 1892, and this year they began manufacturing it in Springfield Massachusetts
McKinley beats Bryan. Washington Nov. 3, 1896.
William McKinley, the former Governor of Ohio, was elected President today, defeating his Democratic opponent, William Jennings Bryan, after a heated campaign. With the aid of a big war chest assembled by Mark Hanna, a Cleveland industrialist, McKinley won 23 states with 271 electoral votes to Bryan’s 22 states and 176 electoral votes. Garret A. Hobart of New Jersey won Vice-President.
New Orleans sets up area for prostitutes. New Orleans Jan 26, 1897.
New Orleans Alderman Sidney Storey says that if you cannot eliminate prostitution, you can at least isolate it. Today, the Board of Aldermen adopted an ordinance that, in effect, legalises prostitution in a district that centres around lower Basin Street, on the edge of the French Quarter. Jokesters are saying that the area will be called “Storyville” in honour of the congenial alderman. Open prostitution already exists in the area, where there are lavish bordellos that cater to the leading citizens and “cribs” or small rooms from which women beckon the not-so-leading citizens.
Since 1881, the two former circus rivals have dazzled and delighted young and old alike
War call-up swamps the recruitment offices.
Washington Apr. 24, 1898.
The response to the congressional call for volunteers to fight in the war with Spain has been tremendous. Recruiting stations across the country have been swamped with young men rushing to join the colours. “We’ll whip the dagos until they howl,” was the typical cry of one young New York volunteer. At present the American army is made up of 2,116 officers and 25,706 enlisted men. In addition, there is a partly trained militia that provides a reserve of 100,000.
American seize Manila. Philippines, Aug. 13,1898.
Manila capital of the Philippines, fell to the Americans today after a firefight that wasn’t supposed to happen and under circumstances that resemble romantic fiction more than fact. The besieged Spaniards knew that the city was indefensible but they did not want to surrender to Philippine insurgents under Commandante Emilo Aguinaldo for fear of reprisals after long years of abuse. Admiral George Dewey, commanding all United States forces in the area, knew this and had worked out a gentleman’s agreement with the Spanish that they would surrender after a mock show of force and some shelling to satisfy “Pundonor” the Spanish code of military honour.
Spanish-American War: 289 lives lost in battle, 4000 lost to disease.
As wars go, it was a relatively bloodless affair. It did not quite last a year and there were plenty opportunities for the young men who volunteered to perform acts of heroism, come home and get their honours. Only 289 lives were lost in battle, but the military has little to celebrate. Troops trained for the humid Cuban summer in wool winter uniforms. Hundreds succumbed -
to typhoid, yellow fever and “embalmed beef” before even reaching the battlefield, and the toll rose to 4000 by war’s end. Disembarking at Santiago, Horses and mules were simply thrown overboard. And most of the campaigns, haphazardly planned and executed, would surely have faltered against a more worthy opponent.
Five boroughs form Greater New York Jan 1, 1898.
New Yorkers suddenly found themselves living in the World’s second largest city at noon today. Owing to a charter established last year, Brooklyn, Queens and Richmond joined with Manhattan and the Bronx to form one vast municipality, Greater New York. Mayor Robert Van Wyck, sworn in this afternoon at City Hall, thus is succeeding not one but several outgoing mayors. While the boroughs will share police, fire and health departments, they will retain some local government.
U.S. Forces help crush Boxer Rebels
Peking, China Aug. 14, 1900
After two months under siege by Boxer and imperial army units, the foreign legations were rescued today by a force of 19,000 British, American, Russian, Japanese and French soldiers. The Boxers are a secret society and fiercely opposed to any foreign influence in China.
Americans sweep Olympic Games Paris July, 1900
Americans made a virtual sweep of the second modern Olympics although because of a misunderstanding some of the athletes thought they were actually taking part in the concurrent Universal Games. Winners receiving medals did not realise they were Olympic Medals.
Black Gold spews from Texas Spindletop. Texas, Jan 10, 1901.
Oil drillers have discovered what appears to be a huge petroleum deposit a few miles from this quiet town in north eastern Texas. While the Lone Star State has no developed oilfields, geologists have long suspected that his area sits on top of a vast reservoir of oil. For years, oil has seeped up from the ground, but no one has attempted to drill a well - until now. When the well, which the oilmen are calling Spindletop, hit the gas deposits, the black gold spewed at least 200 feet into the air, covering every tree, animal and person for acres around.
Panic hits Wall Street. New York, May 10, 1901.
The stock market collapsed today in a panic without parallel as the result of a corner in Northern Pacific Railroad shares. As crowds descended on Wall Street, the exchange closed its gallery for the first time in history. Thousands of messengers filled the streets, earning tips that were worth many times their $4 a week salaries.
The panic erupted after Northern Pacific opened at 170 and jumped 200 or 300 points between sales, becoming scarce at even £1,000 because it had been cornered by forces of J.Pierpoint Morgan on the one hand and E.H. Harriman on the other, in their titanic struggle for control.
So fierce was their fight that they actually bought more Northern Pacific than exists. Much of it was from speculators who really did not own it, but had sold it “short” betting that it would fall before they had to deliver. When it went up instead, the speculator was trapped in the position of having to deliver stock they did not own, nor could borrow. As they had to sell all their other holdings to make good their losses they began a general stampede which resulted in a market crash.
President McKinley shot by anarchist. Buffalo, New York, Sept 6, 1901
An anarchist shot President McKinley today, but the President’s doctors say he is “rallying satisfactorily and resting comfortably”. McKinley was shot twice shortly after 4pm by Leon Czolgosz of Cleveland during a reception at the Pan-American Exposition. The assassin has joined a crowd of wellwishers and came within 2 feet of the President. At this close range, witnesses say, he raised a hand and fired twice, using a revolver concealed in a bandage or handkerchief. One bullet struck the breastbone and was removed. The other pierced the stomach and has not yet been found.
Roosevelt’s advice to the weary: Exercise. Chicago Jan 15 1899
Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York has some advice for the nation’s tired. Try a strenuous life, he told an audience here today. He should know, for exercise has been his credo since the days when he was a sickly youth, subject to severe asthma attacks. As a boy, he began a body-building program. Later he took up big game hunting
Twain calls for the damnation of the human race. 1899
The country’s favourite humorist does not seem so jolly these days. “I have been reading the morning paper,” he wrote to William dean Howells. “I do every morning well knowing that I shall find in it the usual depravities and .... Cruelties that make up civilisation, and cause me to put in the rest of the day pleading for the damnation of the human race.
New Arrivals swell the U.S. Population. U.S. 1900
Bolstered by a flood of immigrants streaming through Ellis Island at a rate of 100 an hour, the population of the United States has jumped to 75.9 million, up from the 62.9 million counted in the last census 10 years ago. New York is still the largest city with 3.4 million inhabitants; Chicago is second with 1.6 million.
Some 3.5 million immigrants arrived in the last decade, a flow that has increased steadily except for a lull during the depression years 1894 and 95. Ellis Island’s new facilities, rebuilt after being destroyed by fire three years ago can handle 8,000 newcomers a day.
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