What Happened on July 29?

  • The "Son of Sam" killed for the first time, beginning a long reign of terror on New York City. (1976) Serial killer David Richard Berkowitz shot Rose Lauria, killing her instantly, and shot two more times, hitting Lauria's friend Jody Valenti in the thigh and missing Lauria's daughter. Berkowitz would continue his killing spree until his arrest more than a year later in 1977, killing a total of six people and injuring seven others. He claimed he was directed to kill by his neighbor's dog, which was possessed by a demon.

  • A day trader opened fire, killing nine people after killing his wife and children earlier that morning. (1999) A securities trader named Mark O. Barton killed his 27-year-old wife Leigh Ann Barton, his 11-year-old son and his 7-year-old daughter before heading to office buildings in the Buckhead district in Atlanta, Georgia. He opened fire in the each of the two buildings, killing nine people and injuring 12 others. He was later found and pulled over by police, at which point he shot and killed himself.

  • Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. (1981) An estimated 750 million people watched the wedding, which was broadcast live on television. The couple was later divorced in 1996, and Diana was killed in a car accident a year later in 1997.

  • Vincent van Gogh shot and killed himself at age 37. (1890) Van Gogh suffered from severe mental illness and depression. On this day, he walked into a field and shot himself in the chest; he died two days later. He was not well known in his short lifetime — his fame came after his death. He didn't start painting until he was in his late 20s, but still created more than 2,000 works of art. His work is now some of the most recognizable in the world.

  • NASA was created when the National Aeronautics and Space Act was signed into law. (1958) US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill, replacing the existing National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). NASA is an executive branch of the US that researches and explores space.

  • Hawaii opened its first sugar plantation. (1835) The Old Sugar Mill of Koloa plantation was created by Ladd & Co. Within the first year, the plantation shipped 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms) of molasses and sugar to the US mainland. In the late 1960s, nearly 1.2 billion tons (more than 1 trillion kilograms) of sugar was produced in Hawaii. After the 1970s and 80s, the tourism market edged out sugar plantations, which found cheaper land and labor in the Caribbean.

  • Hitler became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party. (1921) Beginning his rise to power, Hitler was appointed the party's chairman over an elected board. Hitler quickly dropped the board members and took the title "Fuhrer," meaning leader, and thereafter ran the party by himself.

  • US President Gerald R. Ford visited Auschwitz — he was the first US President to do so. (1975) The Auschwitz concentration camp was located in Poland during World War II. More than one million people were killed there, almost all of them Jews, between 1942 and 1944.

  • Bill Mueller became the first and only batter in Major League Baseball history to hit two grand slams in a single game from both sides of the plate. (2003) Mueller was playing for the Boston Red Sox and hit the two grand slams in consecutive "at bats."

  • US musician Bob Dylan had a motorcycle accident, which prompted him to become a recluse and disappear from the public spotlight for eight years. (1966) The accident remained something of a mystery. Dylan claimed to have broken vertebrae in his neck, but no ambulance was called and he was not admitted to a hospital. He continued to write and record music, but with only a few exceptions, did not appear in public again until January 1974, when he launched his "North American Tour."

Discussion Comments


This has to be one of the best Websites on The Internet. It feeds me a plethora of "Did you know"'s


Until recently, though I haven't heard of serial killer David Richard Berkowitz, it really gives you a clear insight into the mind of criminals and mass murderers. Generally speaking, you never know what they're up to, and even when you think you have them figured out, you may be unaware of looming details.


In relation to the third to last bullet point, considering how President Gerald Ford was the first president to visit a concentration camp, I'm assuming that over the past years, other presidents have done so as well. After all, when you're in charge of the United States, you're constantly visiting a lot of places, and even though the liberation of the concentration camps happened years ago, time goes on, but you never forget.


One of the reasons why Hitler was able to rise to power is because there were many people who were looking for a savior. To make a long story short, during the Great Depression, times were obviously hard, and the civilians were looking for someone who could give them what they wanted. Hitler saw this as an opportunity, and the people were pleased. However, little did they know that he was power hungry, attempting to eliminate anyone who stood in his way.

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