Today in Southern History: The Superdome

3 August 1975  

On this date in 1975…

The Louisiana Superdome was dedicated in New Orleans, Louisiana. At that time, it was the largest enclosed stadium in the world.

Other Years:
  • 1676 – Nathaniel Bacon of the ill-fated “Bacon’s Rebellion” published his “Declaration of the People of Virginia.”
  • 1861 – A federal fleet bombarded Galveston, Texas.
  • 1936 – Alabama native Jesse Owens won the first of four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games.
  • 1984 – Mary Lou Retton of western Virginia  won a gold medal for gymnastics at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
  • 1985 – Mail service returned to the nudist colony in Paradise Lake, after residents promised that they’d wear clothes or stay out of sight during deliveries.
  • 2008 – Actor Morgan Freeman was injured in an automobile accident near Ruleville, Mississippi, when his car flipped over several times on the highway.

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Today in Southern History: The Graveyard of Ships

2 August 1795  

On this date in 1795…

A hurricane wrecked a fleet of eighteen Spanish ships on CapeHatteras claiming the lives of all passengers and crew. Thousands of ships have wrecked of Cape Hatteras, earning it the name, “TheGraveyard of Ships.”

Other Years:
  • 1776 – Members of the Continental Congress began adding their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1861 – The U.S. Congress passed the first income tax. The revenues it raised were intended to finance the war against the South. The tax was later ruled unconstitutional.
  • 1938 – Experimental bright yellow baseballs were used in a major league baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals for better visibility.
  • 1983 – U.S. House of Representatives approved a law that designated the third Monday of January would be a federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The law was signed by President Reagon on November 2.

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Today in Southern History: Six Flags

1 August 1961  

On this date in 1961…

The largest and premier Southern amusement park at the time, Six Flags Over Texas opened in Arlington, Texas.

Other Years:
  • 1781 – British army commanded Lord Cornwallis occupied Yorktown, Virginia.
  • 1966 – Charles Whitman wounded 31 and killed 16 people from the bell tower at University of Texas in Austin before himself being killed by a police officer.
  • 1993 – The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993 crests.
  • 2001 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore installed a Ten Commandments monument in the state judiciary building, leading to a lawsuit from the Southern Poverty Law Center to have it removed and eventually his own removal from the court.

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Today in Southern History: The Treasure Coast

31 July 1715  

On this date in 1715…

A hurricane sank the Spanish treasure fleet in the Florida Straitsoff Vero Beach, Florida. The loss of the fleet set off a financial crisis in Europe similar to the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The large amounts of Spanish gold, silver, and jewels found along the Florida beach over the years from Sebastian Inlet to Port St. Lucie from this and other wrecks gives the area the name, the “Treasure Coast.”

Other Years:
  • 1864 – The Battle of Sunshine Church near Round Oak, Georgia. 
  • 1966 – Alabama protesters burned Beatle products due to John Lennon’s “Jesus” remark.
  • 1969 – Elvis Presley performed a live concert for the first time since 1961 at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. It would be the first of his many performances delivered in Vegas.

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Today in Southern History: Deliverance

30 July 1972  

On this date in 1972…

The movie Deliverance, based on James Dickey’s best-selling novel filmed on the Chattooga River in Georgia and starring Burt Reynolds, John Voight, and of course, Ned Beatty, reached theaters.

Other Years:
  • 1619 – The Virginia House of Burgesses formed as the first elected American governing body in Jamestown.
  • 1729 – The city of Baltimore was founded in Maryland.
  • 1864 – Confederate troops repulsed the assault of Grant’s federal troops after they exploded a mine under Southern fortifications in the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia.
  • 1864 – Federal cavalry occupied Macon, Georgia.
  • 1970 – Hurricane Celia made its first landfall and killed 31 people in Cuba, Florida, and Texas.
  • 1990 – The first Saturn automobile rolled off the assembly line in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

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