• On Jan. 7, 1789, Congress sets today as the date by which states are required to choose electors for the country’s first-ever presidential election. A month later, on Feb. 4, George Washington was elected president by state electors and sworn into office April 30.
• On Jan. 10, 1901, a drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, signaling the advent of the American oil industry. The geyser flowed at an initial rate of 100,000 barrels a day. Today, only a few oil wells still operate in the area.
• On Jan. 5, 1920, the New York Yankees announce the purchase of heavy-hitting outfielder George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $125,000. Ruth had played six seasons with the Red Sox, leading them to three World Series titles.
• On Jan. 8, 1966, ABC’s rock and roll TV variety show “Shindig” airs its last episode. The show had debuted in September 1964, featuring acts including the Everly Brothers, the Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.
• On Jan. 9, 1972, a fire breaks out aboard the lavish Queen Elizabeth, and by the next morning the world’s largest passenger ship lies in a wreck on the bottom of Hong Kong harbor. Launched in 1938, the Queen Elizabeth steamed across the ocean as a troop transport during World War II.
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