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Today In History – April 27 – Construction Of Freedom Tower In New York Begins





1773: Parliament passes the Tea Act: On this day in 1773, the British Parliament passes the Tea Act, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company from bankruptcy by greatly lowering the tea tax it paid to the British government and, thus, granting it a de facto monopoly on the American tea trade. Because all legal tea entered the colonies through England, allowing the East India Company to pay lower taxes in Britain also allowed it to sell tea more cheaply in the colonies. Even untaxed Dutch tea, which entered the colonies illegally through smuggling, was more expensive the East India tea, after the act took effect.

When three tea ships carrying East India Company tea, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to send back the cargo, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the so-called Boston Tea Party with about 60 members of the radically anti-British Sons of Liberty. On December 16, 1773, the Patriots boarded the British ships disguised as Mohawk Indians and dumped the tea chests, valued then at £18,000 (nearly $1 million in today’s money), into the water.

Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, known to colonists as the Intolerable Acts, the following year. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to what they saw as British oppression. More here

1822: President Grant is born: Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War leader and 18th president of the United States, is born on this day in 1822.

The son of a tanner, Grant showed little enthusiasm for joining his father’s business, so the elder Grant enrolled his son at West Point in 1839. Though Grant later admitted in his memoirs he had no interest in the military apart from honing his equestrian skills, he graduated in 1843 and went on to serve in the Mexican-American War, though he opposed it on moral grounds. He then left his beloved wife and children again to fulfill a tour of duty in California and Oregon. The loneliness and sheer boredom of duty in the West drove Grant to binge drinking. By 1854, Grant’s alcohol consumption so alarmed his superiors that he was asked to resign from the army. He did, and returned to Ohio to try his hand at farming and land speculation. Although he kicked the alcohol habit, he failed miserably at both vocations and was forced to take a job as a clerk in his father’s tanning business. More here

1865: Tragedy on the Mississippi: Days after the end of the Civil War, the worst maritime disaster in American history occurs when the steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,100 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing all but 400 of those aboard. The Mississippi, with its dikes and levees damaged by four years of war, stood at flood stage, and most of those who died were drowned in the surging river. All but 100 of those killed were Union veterans, and most were Yankee survivors of Andersonville and other brutal Confederate prisoner of war camps. More here

1956: Rocky Marciano retires as world heavyweight champion: On April 27, 1956, world heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano retires from boxing at age 31, saying he wants to spend more time with his family. Marciano ended his career as the only heavyweight champion with a perfect record–49 wins in 49 professional bouts, with 43 knockouts. More here

1963: High school freshman Little Peggy March earns a #1 hit with “I Will Follow Him”: On April 27, 1963, Margaret Annemarie Battavio’s very first single, “I Will Follow Him,” reached #1 on the U.S. pop charts. With her 15th birthday only six weeks behind her, and three more years of high school ahead of her, the singer better known as Little Peggy March became the youngest female performer ever to top the Billboard Hot 100, but she’d never crack the top 10 again. Financial exploitation by an unscrupulous manager and a string of disappointing singles thwarted Peggy’s efforts to capitalize on her early success, but if this sounds like the familiar start of a depressing episode of VH1’s Behind the Music, think again. Her domestic career may have peaked while she was still in pigtails, but Little Peggy March pulled herself up by her bootstraps to build a career of impressive proportions in the parallel universe of Europop. More here

1978: Afghan president is overthrown and murdered: Afghanistan President Sardar Mohammed Daoud is overthrown and murdered in a coup led by procommunist rebels. The brutal action marked the beginning of political upheaval in Afghanistan that resulted in intervention by Soviet troops less than two years later. More here

2006: Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City: One World Trade Center, simply known as 1 WTC or 1 World Trade Center (formerly named and still colloquially known as the Freedom Tower), is the lead building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan in New York City, New York. The tower will be located in the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site, and will occupy the location where the original 8-story 6 World Trade Center once stood. The north side of the tower runs between the intersection of Vesey and West streets on the northwest and the intersection of Vesey and Washington streets on the northeast, with the site of the original North Tower/1 WTC offset to the southeast. Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority confirmed that the building will be known by its legal name of ‘One World Trade Center’, rather than the colloquial name ‘Freedom Tower’. Upon completion, One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the United States, standing at a height of 1,776 feet (541.3 m), and among the tallest buildings in the world. More here

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