Events - February 28
1827 - The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for the commercial transportation of people and freight.
1849 - If one wanted to make the trip from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast by steamboat, one had best be prepared for a long journey. Regular steamboat service to California via Cape Horn arrived in San Francisco for the first time. The "SS California" left New York Harbor on October 6, 1848, making the trip in four months, 21 days. We suspect that the marketing phrase was not “Ain’t we got fun?”
1893 - It was a grand day at the home of Edward G. Acheson of Monongahela, PA, as he gathered friends and family around to show off his newly received patent for Carborundum, an abrasive or refractory of silicon carbide, fused alumina and other materials.
1930 - Ted Lewis and his orchestra recorded "On the Sunny Side of the Street" for Columbia Records on this day. Mr. Lewis was heard as the featured vocalist as well, on the tune that has been recorded hundreds of times and is an American music standard.
1940 - The first televised basketball game was shown -- over W2XBS in New York City -- from Madison Square Garden. The game featured Fordham University and the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt won, 50-37.
1945 - U.S. tanks broke through the natural defense line west of the Rhine and crossed the Erft River.
1951 - The investigating committee headed by U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver reported there were at least two major crime syndicates operating in the United States.
1957 - Johnny Longden rode winner number 5,000 in his career at Santa Anita race track.
1960 - The Soviet Union team got championship honors as the 1960 Winter Olympics ended in beautiful Squaw Valley, CA (near Lake Tahoe).
1966 - The famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, England closed because of financial difficulties. During its peak of success, the club was best known as the home of The Beatles.
1971 - Jack Nicklaus, ‘The Golden Bear’, won the Professional Golfers Association Championship for the second time. He completed the cycle of winning golf’s four major titles -- twice. The Big Four in golf are: The U.S. Open, the Masters, the PGA Championship and the British Open.
1972 - U.S. President Richard Nixon wrapped up an historic week-long visit to China, convinced the trip helped to create a new “generation of peace.”
1975 - 43 people were killed in London when a subway train sped past its final stop and smashed into the end of a tunnel. Some 70 other passengers were injured in the crash which left the front three carriages crushed into the rear of the train. The cause of the disaster remains unknown.
1983 - "M*A*S*H" became the most watched television program in history, as the final original episode of the fictitious, but uncommonly real, 4077th M*A*S*H unit of the Korean conflict aired this night in 1983. An estimated 125-million people in the U.S. tuned in to see the broadcast on CBS. The program earned a 60.3 rating and a 77 percent share. According to Nielsen Media Research, the 60.3 rating was the average audience rating or the percent tuned to "M*A*S*H" during the average minute, while the share measured the percentage of TV households whose sets were turned on that night and were tuned to the 2 1/2 hour special of "M*A*S*H".
1984 - It was Michael Jackson Night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. The gloved one set a record for most wins by taking home eight of the gramophone statuette honors. He broke the previous record of six awards set by Roger Miller in 1965. The reason: the biggest selling album of all time, "Thriller", which sold more than 35-million copies around the world soon after its release in 1983.
1989 - Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, defeated acting Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer in the Democratic primary election.
1993 - U.S. Federal agents shot it out with members of an armed religious cult near Waco, Texas and didn’t fare very well. Four agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and two cult members were killed and another 12 agents were wounded. The agents had planned to arrest Branch Davidian cult leader, David Koresh on federal firearms charges, but were surprised when the cult members opened fire with heavy weapons. The assault was a failure, and the 51-day siege by the Feds began.
1995 - Denver International Airport opened after 16 months of delays and billions of dollars in budget overruns.
1997 - The headline read, “Botched L.A bank heist turns into bloody shootout.” Two robbers, masked and wearing body armor, bungled a bank heist in North Hollywood, CA. As the pair left the bank, they unleashed an arsenal of weapons on police, bystanders, cars and TV choppers before they were killed. Fifteen people were injured, including ten policemen.
1997 - These movies opened in U.S. theatres: "Booty Call", starring Jamie Foxx, Tommy Davidson, Vivica A. Fox and Tamala Jones; "Donnie Brasco", with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp; "Hard 8", starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson; and "Lost Highway", with Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette.
1998 - Celine Dion’s "My Heart Will Go On" hit #1 in the U.S. It was the tippy-top chart-topper for two weeks.
2003 - NASA released video taken aboard Columbia that had somehow survived the fiery destruction of the space shuttle. The seven Columbia astronauts, in the final minutes of their lives sipped drinks, put on their gloves, joked and mugged for the camera, unaware of the catastrophe awaiting them.
2004 - Daniel Joseph Boorstin, author, historian and 12th librarian of Congress, died in Washington DC. He was 89 years old. Boorstin wrote more than twenty books, included a trilogy on the American experience: The Colonial Experience (1959), The National Experience (1966) and The Democratic Experience (1973).
2005 - The U.S. Mint began distributing new Jefferson 5-cent coins to banks. The coin featured a bolder profile of Thomas Jefferson than on previous coins.
2007 - 96-year-old Albert ‘Chinky’ Facchiano, a Genovese family mobster, pleaded guilty in Florida to racketeering. Prosecutors accused him of participating in rackets involving robberies, money-laundering and bank fraud between 2000 and 2003. (Facchiano died Aug 16, 2011.)
2008 - The Pew Center on the States reported that 1% of adult Americans were in jail or prison, an all-time high that cost state governments nearly $50 billion a year. The U.S. led the world in the percentage of residents incarcerated with China a distant second.
2008 - In western Antarctica a 160-square mile chunk of ice on the edge of the Wilkins ice shelf began collapsing. It had been there for some 1,500 years.
Birthdays - February 28
1797 - Mary Lyon (educator: founded Mount Holyoke Seminary, now Mt. Holyoke College, one of the first permanent colleges for women; died Mar 5, 1849)
1820 - Sir John Tenniel (cartoonist, illustrator: Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass; died Feb 25, 1914)
1824 - Charles Blondin (Jean Francois Gravelet) (acrobat, aerialist: first to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope [June 30, 1859]; died Feb 22, 1897)
1894 - Ben Hecht (novelist: Eric Dorn; scriptwriter: Wuthering Heights; playwright: The Front Page; died Apr 18, 1964)
1901 - Linus Pauling (Nobel peace prize-winner ; Nobel prize for chemistry ; died Aug 19, 1994)
1903 - Vincente Minnelli (Lester Anthony Minnelli) (Academy Award-winning director: Gigi ; An American in Paris, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; Judy Garland’s husband; Liza Minnelli’s father; died July 25, 1986)
1907 - Milton Caniff (cartoonist: Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon; died May 3, 1988)
1915 - Lee Castle (Castaldo) (trumpet, bandleader: led Jimmy Dorsey’s band during time of smash hit: So Rare; died Nov 16,1990)
1915 - Zero Mostel (Samuel Joel Mostel) (actor: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Journey into Fear; died Sep 8, 1977)
1920 - Alf Kjellin (actor; director: The Girls of Huntington House; died Apr 5, 1988)
1923 - Charles Durning (actor: Spy Hard, The Hudsucker Proxy, Dick Tracy, Death of a Salesman, Tootsie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Sharky’s Machine, The Final Countdown, When a Stranger Calls, North Dallas Forty, The Hindenburg, Dog Day Afternoon, The Sting, Evening Shade, Studs Lonigan, Eye to Eye, The Cop and the Kid, Captains and the Kings; died Dec 24, 2012)
1924 - Chris Kraft (NASA flight director for all Mercury and many Gemini missions; NASA spokesman: voice of Mission Control during Mercury and Gemini space missions)
1926 - Svetlana Alliluyeva (author: The Faraway Music; daughter of Russian leader, Joseph Stalin; defected to the West Mar 9, 1967; died Nov 22, 2011)
1927 - Stanley Baker (actor: The Guns of Navarone, Knights of the Roundtable; died June 28, 1976)
1930 - Frank Malzone (baseball: Boston Red Sox [all-star: 1957-1960, 1963, 1964], California Angels)
1931 - Gavin MacLeod (actor: The Love Boat, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, McHale’s Navy, Operation Petticoat)
1931 - Dean Smith (Basketball Hall of Famer; coach: North Carolina Tar Heels; coach of U.S. Olympic Basketball Team ; died Feb 7, 2015)
1939 - Tommy Tune (Tony Award-winning dancer, actor: My One and Only, Will Roger Follies, Dean Martin Presents; director: musical theater)
1940 - Mario Andretti (auto racer: Indianapolis 500 Hall of Famer)
1940 - Joe South (Souter) (guitarist, singer: Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Games People Play; songwriter: Down in the Boondocks, Rose Garden; died Sep 5, 2012)
1942 - Frank Bonner (actor: WKRP in Cincinnati, Sidekicks, Just the Ten of Us)
1942 - Brian Jones (Lewis Hopkin-Jones) (singer, musician: rhythm guitar: group: The Rolling Stones: [I Can’t Get No] Satisfaction; died July 3, 1969)
1947 - Marty (Martin Roman) Perez (baseball: California Angels, Atlanta Braves, SF Giants, NY Yankees, Oakland Athletics)
1948 - Bernadette Peters (Lazzara) (actress: The Jerk, Annie, All’s Fair, George M, Dames at Sea, Pennies from Heaven; singer: Gee Whiz)
1948 - Mercedes Ruehl (actress: Indictment: The McMartin Trial, Lost in Yonkers, Last Action Hero, The Fisher King, Married to the Mob, Big, Radio Days)
1950 - Tom Riker (basketball: Univ. of South Carolina, NY Knicks)
1953 - Roland Harper (football: Chicago Bears)
1957 - Phil Gould (musician: drums: group: Level 42: The Chinese Way, The Sun Goes Down [Living It Up], Hot Water, Something About You, Leaving Me Now)
1957 - John Turturro (actor: Girl 6, Quiz Show, Barton Fink, Miller’s Crossing, The Sicilian, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Color of Money, To Live & Die in L.A., Desperately Seeking Susan)
1957 - Cindy Wilson (singer: group: B-52s: Rock Lobster, Quiche Lorraine, 606 0842, Dance This Mess Around)
1961 - Rae Dawn Chong (actress: Quest for Fire, The Color Purple, Commando, Choose Me, Beat Street, Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers, Far Out Man, Mysterious Ways, Wild Card)
1969 - Robert Sean Leonard (actor: The Boys Next Door, Safe Passage, The Age of Innocence, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, Dead Poets Society, Manhattan Project)
1977 - Jason Aldean (singer: Why, Big Green Tractor, She’s Country, The Truth, Don’t You Wanna Stay [w/Kelly Clarkson], Dirt Road Anthem, Fly Over States, Take a Little Ride)
1979 - Sebastien Bourdais (race car driver: won four consecutive Champ Car World Series titles [2004-2007])
1979 - Chris Hayes (TV political commentator: All In with Chris Hayes [MSNBC]; editor at large: The Nation)
1985 - Jelena Jankovic (tennis champ: former World #1 [singles]; Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title [2007 w/Jamie Murray]; career record: 487–267; career titles 12 WTA, 1 ITF)
1987 - Michelle Horn (actress: Strong Medicine, Family Law, Hostage, Loving Annabelle, Little Athens, The Ruby Princess Runs Away, Return to the Secret Garden, Chance of a Lifetime, Stuart Saves His Family; voice actress: Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride)
Chart Toppers - February 28
For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
The Anniversary Song - Dinah Shore
Oh, But I Do - Margaret Whiting
So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed - Merle Travis
Sincerely - McGuire Sisters
Melody of Love - Billy Vaughn
The Crazy Otto (Medley) - Johnny Maddox
In the Jailhouse Now - Webb Pierce
Hey Paula - Paul & Paula
Ruby Baby - Dion
From a Jack to a King - Ned Miller
The Ballad of Jed Clampett - Flatt & Scruggs
One Bad Apple - The Osmonds
Mama’s Pearl - The Jackson 5
Sweet Mary - Wadsworth Mansion
Help Me Make It Through the Night - Sammi Smith
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? - Rod Stewart
Fire - Pointer Sisters
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Every Which Way But Loose - Eddie Rabbitt
Livin’ on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Jacob’s Ladder - Huey Lewis & The News
You Got It All - The Jets
I Can’t Win for Losin’ You - Earl Thomas Conley
Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end...
Written and edited by Carol Williams and John Williams
Produced by John Williams
Those Were the Days, the Today in History feature
from 440 International
No portion of these files may be reproduced without the express, written permission of 440 International Inc.