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What Happened on June 16?

  • The first roller coaster in America opened. (1884) LaMarcus Thompson installed the roller coaster, called a switchback railway, in Brooklyn, New York, at Coney Island. People paid five cents (US Dollars) to ride the coaster, which traveled about 6 miles per hour (almost 10 kilometers per hour). It was so popular that by 1900, hundreds of roller coasters popped up around the country.

  • The first woman was launched into space. (1963) Valentina Tereshkova was the first female to travel outside the Earth's atmosphere. She traveled to space aboard the Soviet Union's Vostok 6.

  • The first of the New Deal programs was passed. (1933) U.S. President Roosevelt started his New Deal recovery plan in response to the Great Depression. It provided aid in a variety of forms including financial relief to farmers, financial assistance via the Social Security Act, and through the support of labor unions. Ultimately, many of the programs were found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, but they did lead to laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which set work day and wage standards.

  • The first commercial aircraft hijacking occurred. (1948) The Miss Macao passenger seaplane was en route to Hong Kong when four men burst into the cockpit; three of them had guns. The pilot refused to hand over control and the co-pilot fought back. In the scuffle, the pilot was shot dead and the plane crashed into the ocean. 25 of the 26 passengers died in the crash. The sole survivor was one of the hijackers.

  • Ford Motor Co. incorporated. (1903) The incorporation papers were signed at 9:30 a.m. in Detroit, MI. Twelve stockholders were listed; they invested $28,000 US Dollars (USD) to get the company started. Two of the investors were John and Horace Dodge, who would later start the Dodge automobile company.

  • The song Like a Rolling Stone was recorded. (1965) American singer-song writer Bob Dylan recorded the song. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed it as the Greatest Song of All Time.

  • Geronimo was born. (1829) Geronimo was a leader of the Chiricahua Apache Native American tribe. He became well-known for fighting against the United States and Mexico, and for his many escapes from capture.

  • British comedian Stan Laurel was born. (1890) One half of the famous Laurel and Hardy comedy team, Stan was born by the name Arthur Stanley Jefferson. He acted in 190 films and was awarded a Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1961. He died in 1965 from a heart attack. At Laurel's funeral, Buster Keaton is recorded as saying, "Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, this man was the funniest."

  • American golfer Phil Mickelson was born. (1970) Mickelson, also called "Lefty" for being one of the few left-handed professional golfers, has won several major championships on the PGA Tour and achieved a career high ranking as the 2nd best golfer in the world multiple times.

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