This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 79 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day on 1792, the cornerstone for the White House in laid in Washington, DC.
In 1800, President John Adams became the first president to reside in the executive mansion, which soon became known as the “White House” because its white-gray Virginia freestone contrasted strikingly with the red brick of nearby buildings.
The President’s house was a major feature of Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant’s’s plan for the newly established federal city, Washington, D.C. The architect of the White House was chosen in a design competition, which received nine proposals, including one submitted anonymously by Thomas Jefferson. The nation’s first president, George Washington, traveled to the site of the federal city on July 16, 1792, to make his judgment. His review is recorded as being brief, and he quickly selected the submission of James Hoban, an Irishman living in Charleston, South Carolina. Washington was not entirely pleased with the original Hoban submission, however; he found it too small, lacking ornament, and not fitting the nation’s president. On Washington’s recommendation, the house was enlarged by thirty percent; the present East Room, likely inspired by the large reception room at Mount Vernon, was added.
Construction of the White House began with the laying of the cornerstone on October 13, 1792, although there was no formal ceremony. The main residence, as well as foundations of the house, were built largely by enslaved and free African-American laborers, as well as employed Europeans. Much of the other work on the house was performed by immigrants, many not yet with citizenship. The sandstone walls were erected by Scottish immigrants, employed by Hoban, as were the high relief rose and garland decorations above the north entrance and the “fish scale” pattern beneath the pediments of the window hoods. The initial construction took place over a period of eight years, at a reported cost of $232,371.83 ($2.8 million in 2007 dollars). Although not yet completed, the White House was ready for occupancy on or circa November 1, 1800.
Shortages, including material and labor, forced alterations to the earlier plan developed by French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant for a “palace” that was five times larger than the house that was eventually built.] The finished structure contained only two main floors instead of the planned three, and a less costly brick served as a lining for the stone facades. When construction was finished the porous sandstone walls were coated with a mixture of lime, rice glue, casein, and lead, giving the house its familiar color and name.
As it is a famed structure in America, many replicas of the White House have been constructed.
54 – Nero ascends to the Roman throne
409 – Vandals and Alans cross the Pyrenees and appear in Hispania.
1307 – Hundreds of Knights Templar in France are simultaneously arrested by agents of Phillip the Fair, to be later tortured into “admitting” heresy.
1332 – Rinchinbal Khan, Emperor Ningzong of Yuan became the Khagan of the Mongols and Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, reigning for only 53 days.
1362 – The Chancellor of England for the first time opened Parliament with a speech in English.
1582 – Because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar, this day does not exist in this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
1773 – The Whirlpool Galaxy is discovered by Charles Messier.
1775 – The United States Continental Congress orders the establishment of the Continental Navy (later renamed the United States Navy).
1777 – After his defeat on October 7, 1777, British General John Burgoyne’s Army at The Battles of Saratoga become surrounded by superior numbers, setting the stage for its surrender – which feat of arms inspires the Kingdom of France to enter the American Revolutionary War against the British.
1792 – In Washington, D.C., the cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion (known as the White House since 1818) is laid.
1812 – War of 1812: Battle of Queenston Heights – As part of the Niagara campaign in Ontario, Canada, United States forces under General Stephen Van Rensselaer are repulsed from invading Canada by British and native troops led by Sir Isaac Brock.
1843 – In New York City, Henry Jones and 11 others found B’nai B’rith (the oldest Jewish service organization in the world).
1845 – A majority of voters in the Republic of Texas approve a proposed constitution, that if accepted by the U.S. Congress, will make Texas a U.S. state.
1881 – Revival of the Hebrew language as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and friends agree to use Hebrew exclusively in their conversations.
1884 – Greenwich, in London, England, is established as Universal Time meridian of longitude.
1885 – The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is founded in Atlanta, Georgia.
1892 – Edward Emerson Barnard discovers D/1892 T1, the first comet discovered by photographic means, on the night of October 13-14.
1915 – The Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt marks the end of the Battle of Loos in northern France, World War I.
1917 – The “Miracle of the Sun” is witnessed by an estimated 70,000 people in the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal.
1918 – Mehmed Talat Pasha and the Young Turk (C.U.P.) ministry resign and sign an armistice, ending Ottoman participation in World War I.
1923 – Ankara replaces Istanbul as the capital of Turkey.
1943 – World War II: The new government of Italy sides with the Allies and declares war on Germany.
1944 – World War II: Riga, the capital of Latvia is seized by the Red Army.
1946 – France adopts the constitution of the Fourth Republic.
1962 – The Pacific Northwest experiences a cyclone the equal of a Cat 3 hurricane. Winds measured above 150 mph at several locations; 46 people died.
1967 – The first game in the history of the American Basketball Association is played as the Anaheim Amigos lose to the Oakland Oaks 134-129 in Oakland, California.
1970 – Fiji joins the United Nations.
1972 – An Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-62 crashed outside Moscow killing 176.
1972 – Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashes in the Andes mountains, near the border between Argentina and Chile. By December 23, 1972, only 16 out of 45 people lived long enough to be rescued.
1976 – A Bolivian Boeing 707 cargo jet crashes in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, killing 100 (97, mostly children, killed on the ground).
1976 – The first electron micrograph of an Ebola viral particle was obtained by Dr. F.A. Murphy, now at U.C. Davis, who was then working at the C.D.C.
1977 – Four Palestinians hijack Lufthansa Flight 181 to Somalia and demand release of 11 members of the Red Army Faction.
1983 – Ameritech Mobile Communications (now AT&T) launched the first US cellular network in Chicago, Illinois.
1990 – End of the Lebanese Civil War. Syrian forces launch an attack on the free areas of Lebanon removing General Michel Aoun from the presidential palace.
1992 – An Antonov An-124 operated by Antonov Airlines registered SSSR-82002, crashed near Kiev, Ukraine.
1999 – The United States Senate rejects ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).