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Moments in time

 

 

• On Oct. 19, 1796, a writer, mysteriously named “Phocion,” slyly attacks presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson an essay published in the Gazette of the United States. Phocion turned out to be former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who would write 25 essays lambasting Jefferson.

• On Oct. 18, 1867, the U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than 2 cents an acre. Russia sold its Alaska territory to the U.S. rather than risk losing it in battle with a rival such as Great Britain.

• On Oct. 24, 1931, New York Gov. Franklin Roosevelt dedicates the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. The 4,760-foot–long suspension bridge, the longest in the world at the time, connected New Jersey with Manhattan in New York City.

• On Oct. 23, 1942, Michael Crichton is born in Chicago. During his final year of medical school, Crichton published “The Andromeda Strain” (1969) and decided to write full time instead of practicing medicine.

• On Oct. 21, 1959, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, thousands of people line up outside a bizarrely shaped white concrete building that resembled a giant upside-down cupcake. It was opening day at the new Guggenheim Museum, home to one of the world’s top collections of contemporary art.

• On Oct. 20, 1962, President John F. Kennedy holds secret meetings with advisers on the eve of ordering a blockade of Cuba. Kennedy had seen photographic proof that the Soviets were building 40 ballistic missile sites on the island — within striking distance of the United States.

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