• On April 17, 1790, American statesman, printer, scientist and writer Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at age 84. Besides writing and publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” Franklin invented the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses and the lightning rod.
• On April 19, 1897, the first Boston Marathon is run. It was held on April 19, Patriots’ Day, a holiday celebrated in honor of the start of the Revolutionary War. In 1969, Patriots’ Day was officially moved to the third Monday of April, and the Boston Marathon has been run on that day ever since.
• On April 18, 1906, an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long. It was estimated that some 3,000 people died as a result of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the subsequent fires it inflicted upon the city.
(c) 2009 King Features Synd.