• On Oct. 13, 1792, the cornerstone is laid for a presidential residence in the newly designated capital city of Washington. It was called the “White House” because its white-gray Virginia freestone contrasted strikingly with the red brick of nearby buildings.
• On Oct. 10, 1845, The United States Naval Academy opens in Annapolis, Maryland, with 50 midshipmen students and seven professors.
• On Oct. 8, 1871, flames spark in the Chicago barn of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, igniting a two-day blaze that kills up to 300 people and destroys 17,450 buildings. Legend has it that a cow kicked over a lantern and started the fire, but in 1997, the Chicago City Council exonerated Mrs. O’Leary and her cow.
• On Oct. 14, 1913, over 400 workers die in a massive coal-mine explosion near Cardiff, Wales. Nearly 500 miners were brought up safely, but with no further signs of life, mine officials decided to seal the mine, entombing the bodies.
• On Oct. 9, 1940, during the Battle of Britain, the German Luftwaffe conducts a heavy nighttime air raid on London. The dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral was pierced by a Nazi bomb, leaving the high altar in ruin. Otherwise, the cathedral survived the Blitz largely intact.
• On Oct. 11, 1975, the single “Born to Run” became Bruce Springsteen’s first-ever Top 40 hit. In 1974, a Rolling Stone editor had bestowed this now-famous praise upon the Boss: “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
• On Oct. 12, 1997, songwriter and performer John Denver dies when his experimental amateur aircraft crashes into Monterey Bay on the California coast. Known for hits like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Denver sold more than 32 million albums in the U.S. alone.
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